Three Monks and a Lantern (2015)
Oil painting by Nersel zur Muehlen

$1,300 Sold

  • Oil painting, Canvas
  • One of a kind artwork
  • Size: 20 × 30 × 2 in (unframed)
  • This artwork is sold unframed
  • Signed on the front
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Nersel zur Muehlen

United States

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Artist's description:

"Three Monks and a Lantern" Original Oil Painting, Asian Art
Oil on Linen Canvas
Enamel ( Acrylic)

I used a very limited color palette for this painting to reflect the night time and have the monks stand out with their red robes. While painting the monks I researched and learned quite a bit about Buddhism. From an artistic perspective I was also curious about why the monks were wearing bright red robes. Turns out in ancient times, in India, people considered yellow and red to be very ordinary colors. Buddha Gautama wanted his disciples to be ordinary, so he had his monks wear one of these colors. India has hot weather, and Tibet has cold. Consequently, Indian monks and nuns choose yellow, because it is a cool color, and Tibetan monks and nuns choose red or maroon, because it is a warm color.

In my painting the red robes, the red/orange glow of the lanterns reflect the harmony Buddhism is advocating. I used an earth tone for the background as well as the shadows to keep this harmony.The burning lamp is a common metaphor in Buddhist texts; it symbolizes the Buddhist teachings, the light that helps us overcome the darkness of ignorance. Many Buddhist sutras (scriptures) say it is virtuous to offer the light of a lamp to the Buddha.

Materials used:

oil, enamel

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