People often fall silent when they first look at Leonardas Gutauskas' Loreta and Roses, but there is, after all, nothing particularly special in the painting. A woman sits on a massive wooden chair and gazes at a bouquet of flowers she holds in her hand. Try to imagine what you would feel if you wandered into this scene. First you would feel the twilight of evening and hear the silence of the house, smelling the faintest hint of the aroma of the roses. The woman would lift her eyes to glance at you, but would lower them again, deep in thought.
A meeting of fire and ice
Gutauskas' work is characterized by a solemn, almost sacred atmosphere. How is it created?
• With simplified, clear shapes
• Expressive silhouettes
• Strict composition and
• A palette of cool, refreshing colors.
You may notice that the portrait's composition is an obvious triangle, a rising figure! One side of the triangle is created by the slightly angled line of the back of the chair, and another side is formed by a plant leaf. At the center is the figure of a woman, whose face shape repeats the same triangle. The background of the portrait has a faint silvery glow, sometimes referred to by art critics as the color of ice. This cool space contrasts with the flaming color of the rose petals. In other words, the painting is a meeting of fire and ice – an external silence and an intense internal experience. Also worthy of attention is the lively and vibrant interplay of brushstrokes that only strengthens the feeling of transience and fragility.
Verse penned by Gutauskas could also apply to this painting: "A double-edged silence in a green room, as if in the depths of the sea, sends a signal to rest and the dried grasses fall asleep, because waiting is our destiny." The meditative state captured in this painting is typical of Gutauskas' work. In Soviet times, the artist was accused of avoiding the "relevant issues of our age", but he did not change his position then or after the restoration of independence.