Monday, May 5, 2014

Solomon's "Sacred and Profane Love"

The British painter Solomon J. Solomon (1860-1927) was eternally dissatisfied with his own work. He once destroyed a painting called "Sacred and Profane Love," even after it was accepted and exhibited at the Royal Academy.

The Magazine of Art had praised the painting as "executed in a masterly manner."

"The picture marks the advance of an ambitious and earnest young painter towards his goal....Towering on the summit of a rocky peak stands the Angel of Holiness, full of kindness and full of dignity, sheltering a woman and her child with one wing, while the husband sits below at their feet."

Fortunately, because the work was exhibited at the Royal Academy, there's an old reproduction of it.
Solomon's book on painting: The Practice of Oil Painting and Drawing


Rich said...

What a draughtmanship displayed here: Just great!
Why did the artist elect to destroy his accomplished work ? That's the question.

The picture leaves a graveyard impression on me, though. Was that the reason? Dunno; there may be a few other theories out there...

Unknown said...

He probably was super critical of his own work and despite how others praised it, Solomon figured that the painting just did not measure up.

Gavin said...

Many artists are their own worst critics and enemies. Hard to believe such a wonderful piece of work might have been destroyed by the artist himself.
There is a free version of his book available here :

Unknown said...

I just stumbled on this old newspaper clipping.

It seems the painting was cut up and sold as smaller pieces to recoup the costs of creating the original very large painting. So the reason may not have had anything to do with being completely dissatisfied with the painting. That's how i interpreted it anyway.

Unknown said...

The next question would be whatever happened to the fragments that were reworked into separate smaller paintings?

Unknown said...

I'm my own worst critic as well so I can absolutely understand where he was coming from. It's something that I struggle with, but I'm slowly getting better about it.:) Wish that he'd gotten over it before destroying such an amazing piece!