Untitled #04/14 (after Caravaggio, 1602; featuring Paul Cicchetti)
61 x 76 cm / 24" x 30"
88 x 102 cm / 35" x 40"
Oil on board
Signed lower left
A Private Collection, Reno, NV, USA
"I'm very grateful to live in a time and place where I enjoy freedom of expression, unburdened by moral and religious constraints. I have always been attracted to men, and it has always felt natural and authentic to explore the male nude and themes relating to my sexuality in my art." Watson recently wrote.
Can you imagine what Caravaggio might have painted if he'd had complete artistic freedom?
Ross Watson's captivating artwork Untitled 04/14, was inspired by that imagining. Through his inclusion of the proudly and comfortably naked model Paul Cicchetti, Watson draws our attention to the fact that despite being attracted to men, Caravaggio never appears to have painted a full frontal adult male nude.
Cicchetti holds the strap of a back pack - a single detail confirming he lives in the present day, as he appears to mirror the good humoured and engaging Winged Cupid - perhaps Caravaggio's most iconic and popular work. This astonishingly realistic scene is indeed a great example of Ian McKellen's observation of Watson's art - "The conjunction of modern naturalism and classic works makes it hard to believe ones eyes."
Importantly, Untitled 04/14 demonstrates "Ross Watson is just the right person to help teach honesty to our emotions in art and the essential beauty of sexual truth." wrote Michael Kirby, a former Justice of the High Court of Australia.