Fernando Montes (1930 - 2007)

Sombra de la luna (1998)
Shadow of the Moon

Egg tempera on canvas
height: 152cm
width: 122cm

Donated by Fernando Montes 1999


This work takes its title from the monumental gate known as the Gateway of the Moon, part of the pre-Inca ruins of Tiahuanaco near Lake Titicaca in the Bolivian Altiplano, at an altitude of around 5000 feet. Like the more famous and more elaborate Gateway of the Sun, the Gateway of the Moon was, astonishingly, cut from a single block of stone, a bold stark opening against the luminous sky. Montes strives to capture the essence of this megalithic architecture. He works in the painstakingly labour-intensive medium of egg tempera, blending two bright colours - ultramarine and raw umber - with titanium white to produce these characteristic translucent but stony tones that contrast with the brilliant light behind. During a visit to Japan in 1982 Montes recognised that the Zen Buddhist idea of beauty as something that combines tranquillity, simplicity, space and silence was what he too had been seeking in his own work. La Sombra de la luna could be said to illustrate these characteristics.

Valerie Fraser, 01/12/2008

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