I was running around at lunch Thursday and decided to pop in to the Philbrook Museum to check out their new acquisition of Kehinde Wiley’s “Equestrian Portrait of King Philip IV.” I’ve seen several photographs of it but you know, with paintings you really have to be be there.
The painting is huge. It takes up a whole wall. It shows a black man in a modern urban camo outfit atop a horse in a classic pose, complete with a sword. The rest of the painting could have come from a few hundred years ago. It is obvious that the painter is skilled and I didn’t have the “Are you kidding me” reaction I get sometimes with modern art. Wiley has been chosen to paint President Obama’s portrait to be unveiled this year.
The subject in the painting is very engaging. He is kind of half glancing at the room and that has changes the tone from your usual painting. And the painting’s colors are vivid and the paint seems so fresh it sparkles. It is a striking work. And yet I worry about how this work will age. Will it still be on display in 50 years or will it be stuck in storage somewhere. I know it is modern art, and nobody knows how modern art is going to “age.” So I am glad that they went got this instead of something “safer.”
I highly recommend that you check this painting out for yourself. Like I said it is a very striking work of art.