Posthumous Memorial Portrait
30″ x 40”, Acrylic on Gallery Wrapped Canvas, July 2016
by Charles C. Clear III
A good Memorial Portrait is more than just the likeness of someones face. A good portrait will tell a story. When I accepted this commission, I had to decide what story that I wanted to tell. At the time, the thought that kept coming to me was “Breaking Bread”. To “break bread” with someone means to share a meal with a friend. I thought about how many times that we have sat down and shared a meal with our family and friends, where we talked and we laughed and we carried on, and we always assumed that those times would go on forever – that we would always talk and laugh and carry on with the people we love. When we find out that that is not the case, we think “If only I would have known I would have done this or that or somehow savored the moments even more than I did.”
I felt that I was on the right track with this approach, but I also wanted to find a way to reference this man’s faith. And then it occurred to me that “Breaking Bread” has another meaning too: Communion. In the Bible, there came a night when Jesus sat down with his friends, and he took a loaf of bread and he broke it, and said “Take this, and eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me”. And then he took the wine and he said “This cup is the new testament in my blood: as often as you drink it, do this in remembrance of me”.
Family….Faith….Communion….this was the story that I wanted to tell! So I painted this man seated at a table, and before him is a basket of bread and a glass of wine, and olive oil – which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Notice how his index finger is gently touching the bottle. There is also olives – an allusion to the garden of Gethsemane – and a white linen napkin, which was found in the empty tomb of Jesus and signifies resurrection.
This well planned portrait was well received by this man’s family, and will, through many generations, serve as a lasting memorial to a good man who left too soon.
To commission a posthumous portrait of your loved one, contact me today!
Charles C. Clear III