Hunt Slonem (b. 1951-)
Dr. Hernandez, 1988
Oil on canvas
20 x 16 inches
Framed Dimensions: 25 x 21.5 inches (Sold as Framed by the Artist)
Hunt Slonem's paintings are at once vibrant, energetic and colorful, yet also deeply spiritual and contemplative. In older bodies of work, references to spiritually charged objects are much more apparent and literal. For example, Slonem favored depicting Catholic and Hindu saints surrounding animals early on.
Dr. Gregorio Hernandez, a pivotal recurring figure in Hunt Slonem's art of the mid-1980s and 1990s, was a Venezuelan doctor, who died in 1919 after being hit by a car while bringing a sick patient medicine to his home. A devout Roman Catholic, who gave alms and spiritual guidance to the poor, he became revered in death as a "saint". His name is invoked for healing purposes, and miracles are believed to have occurred after praying for his intercession to God.
Dr. Gregorio has been a wellspring for songs and native art, and is readily identified through both Venezuelan edifices and art by his iconic suits, mustache and bowler hat.
His shaman-like persona equally inspired Slonem, who was drawn to the figure as a medium of transcendence for his own art, through which his innermost beliefs are channeled, imbuing images with metaphysical meaning. Regarding Dr. Gregorio, Slonem said, "I have chosen to paint him a lot because I like the fact that he's this great metaphysician… who is always in a suit, tie, and pants... He is also contemporary which is meaningful since most people think saints or saintly powers were to the time of Christ."
This painting is historically significant, since it was the impetus for the artist's South American-inspired , spiritual artistic explorations.