Leeuw [Lion]

Walter Swennen


Painting, 170 x 150 cm.
Materials: oil, canvas

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK7686_M438).

Walter Swennen based this painting on a copy of an existing sketch of a heraldic lion. He enriches the image with fine brushwork and new colours. The red and white rectangles undermine the familiarity of the motif. They ensure the creation of a space associated with a painting rather than a reproduction of a real space. The work is first and foremost a painting, an object. The image itself is neutral. In Swennen’s paintings we see images from comic strips, the mass media and everyday life. The images appeal to everyone and at the same time have a completely different emotional charge for every spectator. The artist describes it as follows: ‘I paint a canvas layer upon layer. The bottom layer is strictly personal and the final layer is the hat or the rose, the commonplace. But shimmering beneath it is the past, the adventure that precedes the rose. Everyone who sees the painting reads a completely different adventure’. Walter Swennen is a painter and philosopher who has devised his own language of objects. He paints what appears in his surroundings and uses everything he finds. At the same time, however, every brushstroke is perfect and each colour is carefully selected. He describes painting as a ‘serious game’.

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