Portrait of a Majd

FullSizeRender (3)
FullSizeRender (3)

Paxton Wentzell

American, born Philadelphia. 2001-Present

Portrait of a Majd 2017

Majd painted in the style of Van Eyck

The Jason Todd Renaissance Revival (Art of The Deal) benchmark collection, 2017


Portrait of a Majd depicts a cardinal of the papal states, Majd Bostani. After student artist Paxton Wentzell couldn’t get his loyal patron to send him a selfie to work off of, Majd decided to help out. As instructed by Teacher Todd, the goal of this portrait was to be inspired by the revolutionary Renaissance virtuoso Jan Van Eyck. Eyck was a 14th and 15th century Flemish and Netherlandish painter living in Bruges. Starting his career as a court painter, he used a gothic style to paint religious works centering around the Virgin Mary. He later dropped his roots and started painting realism with his secular portraits, which were his most sought after works. His techniques can be clearly seen reproduced in the posture of the subject. Majd’s arms and hands are seen dis-proportionally smaller than the rest of the body, as to bring the focus onto his face as well as serving a symbolic meaning to the subject’s profession. Van Eyck would do this with many of his portraits. In Léal Souvenir, he paints the subject holding a piece of paper to show his profession of lawyer. Eyck always painted something that symbolizes spirituality, in Paxton Wentzell’s portrait, as in Eyck’s Portrait of a Carthusian, a red door can be seen directly behind the subject. This is symbolic of the subject’s position of cardinal. The medium, oil painting, was mastered by Van Eyck and student painter, Paxton, took advantage of Eyck’s method of layering to add realistic lighting. In Portrait of a Majd the light is coming from the top left. Student painter, Wentzell, signed the canvas with the same modest message as Van Eyck, ALS IK KAN, or “As Best I Can.” The student artist even went as far as to cut his own frame and paint it the same way Jan Van Eyck would, as the frame was considered an integral part of the work at the time. Paxton painted his frame red to make it a continuation of the piece. Van Eyck would inscribe a pun on his name in greek into the frame This student artist has done the same.