Sam Dargan, ‘Christ' Entry Into Paris, 18th March 1871: A Diversionary Tactic’,  2011-2012, Rokeby Gallery

Christ’s entry into Paris, 18th March 1871: a diversionary tactic
The 18th March 1871 is the first day of the Paris Commune, the briefest and most heroic of democratic socialist republics. The road is to lead to an unfulfilled and godless socialist paradise. The title also makes bitter reference to religion and to Christ’s Entry into Brussels by fellow atheist James Ensor, now in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles. The image was partly inspired by photographs of Hungarian refugees in 1956, but it may also bring to mind opposing images of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.

About Sam Dargan

Figural painter Sam Dargan depicts history and society with a bleak and mirthless sense of humor. Dargan’s self-described subject is the misery of “middle management grunts, battered priests, hollowed-out delinquents,” but he explains that he is not critical of the figures so much as the systems of which they are part. His works frequently feature specific historical narratives, sourced from newspapers and history books; past subjects have included the Russian Revolution and the war in Iraq. Dargan, who studied at the Royal College of Art in London, paints with a precise and graphic style that has been described by critics as almost cartoon-like. He is inspired by painting traditions at the turn of the century, and of Russian realist landscape painters like Ivan Shishkin and Arkhip Kuindzhi, but remains fervently skeptical of Romanticism.

British, b. 1971, based in London, United Kingdom

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