This is some good art! I critiqued it here, quoted below:
Vision: This is a fine piece of work conceptually. The visual storyline — of accepting great and painful responsibility, bringing joy/wonder and pain/bitterness into the woman’s life — is clear and sharp.
Originality: Being strikingly original and unique was not a major concern here: the symbolism of the crown of thorns is well known in Western/Christian art. As the focus of the art was to convey a powerful message, not create a novelty or a mind-stretching puzzle, the unoriginal nature of the symbolism is perfectly acceptable to me.
That being said, there are three interesting twists on the visual story that are worth mentioning. First, that the subject is a young woman, and not Jesus Christ. From an artistic point of view, the shift in subject broadens the horizons, encouraging the viewer to consider how we share in His pain. This also changes the flavour of the heroism, into a more feminine quality: just as real, certainly worthy of respect, but with a different texture that encourages careful reflection by the viewer.
Second, that this crown of thorns is of living branches, with blossoms and green leaves. This suggests that there is not only pain in the crown, but also joy and growth. This thorny crown carries life and beauty in it, not just death and pain. An original insight for a different, better situation than that faced by the Man from Galilee.
Third, the lack of pain on the woman’s face. Of course, she has not being brutalized or humiliated or crucified, but is accepting a heavy (but fundamentally good, noble, and life-giving) responsibility of her own free will. And the crown has not settled on her head: if anything, it is cutting into the flesh and bringing pain of the one giving her the responsibility. (Perhaps God, but maybe another woman held in great honour, passing the responsibility to the young woman. Maybe even a feminine spirit, like Wisdom.)
[It is amusing, that after stating the art is basically unoriginal, I then expanded on the original parts of the art. This testifies to the strength of the artistic vision, and more than a little skill and insight!]
Technique: I find the handling of the “brush strokes” and colour choices decent and workmanlike, but nothing particularly engaging to the eye. This is not such a bad thing, due to the sombre and serious nature of the subject matter: flashy techniques would draw attention away from the core message.
I do admire the attention given to the blossoms and the leaves of the crown: an excellent artistic decision, it fits in well with the visual story, stresses the discontinuity between the woman’s pain/destiny/duty and that of Jesus Christ, and makes the crown of pain/crown of life the focus of the eye. A good call there!
I should also voice my strong approval on the triangular shading/highlight, making it clear that the crown is sent from Above. This encourages the insight that the thorny crown is a CROWN: the young woman is being given lawful and just authority, probably over one or more human lives (children? infirm parents? patients?) from God Most High. Well executed!
Impact: The sacred, exalted, very personal nature of the holy responsibility (motherhood? caring for an ailing parent?) is well and powerfully conveyed.
And [Christ] said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” – Mark 9:35, ESV
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. – Matthew 16:24, ESV
Well, in this image, not a cross but a crown of thorns.
The woman has chosen to take up a heavy responsibility, of painful service to someone else, and this is on her way to being first, of gaining regal, holy power and authority.
Taking responsibility leads to gaining authority. True, costly service leads to True, holy power.
A power not only available to men, but to women as well. A sacred authority not just for God Incarnate, but to humble sinners who do not fear pain, in order to show love and give life.
If you want to support and/or commission the artist, see the links below:
Or contact me for commissions via private notes or e-mail: Designing.firstname.lastname@example.org