Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 26 May 2014

St Philip Neri and the Oxford Oratory

Alvin Ong, whose painting of the Oratorian martyr  Bl. Salvio Hiuix-Miralpeix I wrote about last autumn, and whose work I also featured on Good Friday this year, has also painted a new picture of St Philip Neri holding the Oxford Oratory - an appropriate image to post to mark St Philip's feast today.

In part it is doubtless inspired by the well known Guido Reni painting of the Saint, but the artist has done far more than make a derivitive copy or re-working.


St Philip Neri of the Oxford Oratory, 2014

Acrylic on wood, 43 x 73cm

Image: Alvin Ong on Facebook

"Holy Darkness, blessed night, heaven's answer, hidden from our sight."

Alvin says of this painting: "The brief was to paint St Philip Neri, founder of the their religious order holding the Oxford Oratory. One idea I had was to feature in the work the actual vestments worn and used in the Oratory here. At the back you can barely make out the altar pillars of the Oratory sanctuary.

Painting the little Oratory right was the biggest challenge. I needed to do some geometrical angle calculations to capture the perfections of the rose window. And the vestments.... they are a painting within a painting, a world within another world.

To get St Philip right, I studied and reconstructed his face from numerous 18th century paintings and busts. Its an exciting step because, now, I think I've gone beyond just plain copying

I am grateful to Irim Sarwar for forwarding the appropriate link to the picture and Alvin's comments.

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