The Beginning and the End by Carlo Russo

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Carlo Russo

The Beginning and the End


60.96 x 86.36 cm | 24 x 34 in

Oil on linen

  • Third Place ($500 Cash Award) / Still Life

"The Beginning and the End was a result of a client commission. However, its roots could be said to have started back in 2013 with a painting I created titled 'Eggs and Pelt.' That painting had sold and I was asked if I would be willing to create something in that same spirit but encompassed more than just being a copy. I worked with my client to create a special version, this painting. It was important to him that I keep the painting mostly in the same palette of whites, grays and browns as the original. He also requested that I attempt to introduce a bird into the composition if I could. With this information in mind, I started arranging the composition, adding, moving and changing objects to refine and perfect my tableau.

As I continued with this process a narrative emerged, which centered around the natural cycle of life, death and rebirth. The eggshells were particularly important for me as they hint at the fragility of life. The final touch was adding the bird—a beautiful Cedar Waxwing laying in the mortar second from the right. After posing him in several positions I settled on a simple pose with the bird laying on his back, cradled in the vessel and resting eternal." – CARLO RUSSO