Untitled #01/16 (after Caravaggio, 1593; featuring Alex Skinner)
76 x 90 cm / 30" x 35"
97 x 111 cm / 38" x 44"
Oil on board
Signed lower left
Collection, The Artist
One of Ross Watson's most personal artworks, Untitled 01/16 (after Caravaggio, 1593; featuring Alex Skinner) took over 2 months to complete, and explores the fragility of life.
Referencing Carvaggio's Boy with a Basket of Fruit, c.1593, featuring the Caravaggio's companion Mario Minniti, who engages us whilst holding a basket of fruit.
Holding a laptop on the painting's right side is Mario's contemporary counterpart, Alex Skinner. The artist's thoughtful composition places Skinner before the right side of the basket, and importantly, a prominent yellowing grape leaf. In contrast to Mario he looks down, apparently contemplating the grape leaf which Watson has featured on the luminous screen in bright artificial light.
Highly significant is that the leaf shows disorders: fungal spots, and we can imagine it is about to fall. Watson's Skinner presents it, just as Mario presents the basket of fruit.
Unprecedented for Watson's art is his painted depiction of part of a classical painting on modern technology, rendered in the bright artificial light from a laptop's screen, the very kind we today look at on a daily basis.
We may consider the two young men, the basket's immaculate fruit, and the natural process of decay that is part of all living things. We are reminded that everything in life is transitory - an apparently delicious collection of fruit is not destined to survive for long.