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A portrait of My Mexican Heroine the Beautiful Wife of diego rivera by John McDonald
Inocencia is an original painting based on a childhood photograph of the Mexican artist John McDonald calls his Heroine.
The painting is a delicate and sensitive portrait which beguilingly depicts the child artist, as an archetype of innocence.
Inocencia is a really contemporary piece which brings traditional and modern aesthetics together in harmony. Painted in warm sepia tones that take us back to the earliest days of portrait photography, and brought right up to date by the artist's decision to complete the portrait in fine pencil.
The painting reveals its own process and explores the 'making' of an artist, as well as the making of a work of art. The title refers also to the innocence of the artist, whose work demonstrates a level of skill and beauty which is startling for someone who had been painting for just 2 years when he created Inocencia. In deciding to leave the pencil drawing ‘the bare bones of the portrait’ for the viewer to see, John is encouraging creative people in their right to dare anything.
The subtlety and simplicity of Inocencia continues John McDonald's Butterfly Cry series. He has a very literal empathy with his Mexican Heroine, and the body of work as a whole explores human themes of love and loss, suffering and strength, and passion for life.
Like many of John's paintings there are often hidden symbols or meanings hidden in the work. Inocencia is no exception. If you look closely you will see that the charm on the child's necklace is in fact a little pair of ballet shoes. This is a poignant touch, knowing that the Mexican artist had polio, and could not have danced like other little girls… except that John’s meaning is the opposite.