The Virgin with the Host

7:00 AM

Kehinde Wiley, The Virgin with the Host, 2009

By REID GUEMMER 

Dad, 

I can remember the first time a piece of art really caught my attention. You had bought a photograph by Kehinde Wiley while in New York ,and I watched it be mounted to our living room wall. I was confused yet intrigued, especially by the etch-a-sketch belt buckle.

I was so excited to have the opportunity to purchase another photograph from the same Wiley series for you. The painting is a modern take of Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres’ The Virgin Adoring The Host. Before I visited Wiley in his studio I had no idea that any of these paintings had been modeled after older ones. He uses incredibly bright and vibrant colors in his paintings and photographs rather than the paintings he uses as inspiration which are generally neutral and somewhat dull. Wiley takes the work of traditional portraitists such as Ingres, Reynolds, and many others and represents the subject as an urban African-American man.

After doing this transaction I decided I was already in New York and I might as well take a trip to the Met. I wanted to see what had inspired Wiley. I usually don’t like such traditional paintings, that being said I don’t usually feel anything when I see them either. But something was different with this, I realized things can change and be modernized but the foundation will stay the same. I think that says a lot and it especially reminds me of you. I realized that’s sort of how having a family works, so this is my thank you for providing my foundation.

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