Untitled #01/15 (after Caravaggio,1604; featuring Luke Evans)


90 x 76 cm / 36" x 30"

115 x 91 cm / 46" x 40"

Oil on board
Signed lower left

A Private Collection, Monona, WI, USA

$42,000 AUD


This breathtaking painting references Caravaggio's masterpiece John the Baptist, from the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. In 1604 Caravaggio was commissioned to paint a John the Baptist for the papal banker and art patron Ottavio Costa. Costa intended it for an altarpiece for a small oratory in the Costa fiefdom of Conscente, but liked it so much that he sent a copy to the oratory and kept the original in his own collection.

Penny Grist, a curator at the National Portrait Gallery, who curated the museums exhibition Bare:Degrees of Undress, which includes two of Watson's artworks recently wrote "Michael Jacobs in Phaidon's survey of Mythological painting noted that artists from the Renaissance onwards often turned to classical mythology as a fresh humorous and erotic alternative to religious art. In an ingenious appropriation of this tradition, Watson embraces the wild ambiguity of classical allusion and inserts his figures into classical mythology."

Here he creates a dramatic and powerful tension between Caravaggio's intensely brooding and almost impenetrably private St John, who appears to be watching over the contemporary subject, Luke Evans, the film actor. Evans in contrast appears spellbound and possesses a serene expression; lost in his own world, seemingly unaware of St John's intense presence in the wooded setting.

The handsome and charismatic actor is depicted wearing a cream leather hooded jacket - purchased by the artist in the city most identified with Caravaggio, Rome.  A nod by Watson to the tradition in classical painting of depicting saints with cloaks, especially considering celebrity is oft considered modern day sainthood.

The right hands of both figures are virtually identical in position, and both hold something. Only just revealed in Evan's hand is a smart phone, in comparison to the staff held by St John; each a tool of their times used for herding their respective flocks.  The modern saint more likely to do this via social media, in the case of Evans, to millions, controlled by a device in the palm of his hand.

The striking lighting balance in this painting creates a that seamlessly blends the classical and modern. Many scholars have noted St John's figure is contrastly lit which gives him the appearance of sitting forward, into the lighter realm of the views own space. The lighting on Evans is diffused, creating depth to the painting, increasing his realism and creating a harmonious scaling between the figures, placing him quite some way into the foreground. This tension is enhanced by the muted colour palette, which is off-set by the rich and striking red fabric of the cloak upon which St John is leaning.

Purchasing Originals

Join collectors and art museums such as the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Sir Elton John and J.D Wolfenson (former president of the World Bank) in collecting a timeless original oil painting.

We guarantee the provenance and excellent condition of paintings offered for sale by the Ross Watson Gallery.

The listed painting price is inclusive of custom hand made framing.

Painting prices on our website are inclusive of fully insured freight to anywhere in the world. 

Paintings may be reserved for 48 hours, obligation free. This provides you with first right of refusal should another collector wish to purchase the painting while you make a decision. 

Contact us to reserve your painting.

Collector Testimonials

"I have been a proud collector of Ross' paintings for many years. His art is astounding in its beauty, emotion, and reverence for our humanity and the world we live in. His attention to the smallest details, and use of light, dark and colour, rivals art's greatest masters."
James J. O'Donnell, Patron, art collector, NYC

"We are loving our new acquisition and we know that 'Nathan, view to Florence' will bring us endless years of joy. Thanks for sharing your talent. We love your work so keep it up!"
Paul Zahra and Duncan Peerman, Sydney

"As avid art collectors we are very proud to have Ross' stunningly handsome work in our collection. His art brings us great joy and we love to share his work with our friends and visitors. We were absolutely thrilled to recently add 'Two Soldiers' to our collection."
Christopher Cosier & Chris Webber, Sydney

"We are still buzzing from our purchase - I am calling it buyer's exaltation! Looking forward to having your wonderful work of art take pride of place in our new home."
Jon Anderson and Lance Johnston, Sydney

"Your art hanging around our home provides us with such pleasure, and we can’t wait for A-Bay to join the Ross Watson family." <
Haydon Elliot and Greg Moses, Melbourne

Timed Payment Plans

Paintings may be purchased on a TIMED PAYMENT PLAN.

Purchase the painting of your choice now with a 20% deposit and monthly installments by credit card over an agreed time period, usually 6-10 months.

For new collectors the painting is released upon receipt of final payment.

Contact us today to secure your first choice of painting.

Delivery Information

FREE worldwide packaging, freight and insurance is included in the purchase price of your painting.

Our gallery will be in contact within 12 hours of the completion of your purchase to arrange all of your delivery details. This is a bespoke service allowing us to accommodate all of your requirements.

Paintings are packaged in a custom-made, reinforced ply-wood crate made by Rebul.  These are used by museums and galleries around the world for all of their transport needs.  Each individual painting crate is fully reusable and recyclable. 

DHL is our preferred international shipping company.  Australian domestic deliveries are completed by a specialized art transport company.  Complementary insurance is included at the declared value of the painting being shipped.

Recently Viewed