Thomas Shillea Logo
KING OF SORROWS 

The primary influence on my “King of Sorrows” series is derived from 15th and 16th Century Italian art, and a specific Sicilian icon of the head of Christ which recurs in each of the images. Italian art became increasingly sensuous, even erotic, and a new problem presented itself to the Church following the Reformation. This sensuous appeal - the indefinable “certo non so che’ (a certain something) became a part of sacred images. You can see some of these conflicts/tensions in my photographs. They present an aesthetic of the sacred and profane in art, or as Caravaggio called it “fra secolo e devoto”- between the sacred and the profane.

Technique and Media

The photographs in the “King of Sorrows” series are monotone Platinum prints that combine two or more of my vintage view camera photos with the iconic painting of Christ, referred to above. These monotone images rely on the use of chiaroscuro and tenebrism to achieve their dramatic visual effects. A more recent direction combines my contemporary color photographs with the Sicilian portrait of Christ. These photos use color as well as chiaroscuro to express the feelings of “secolo e devoto”.