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Oil Painting - A Deacon

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:2003.0174
Collection:Fine Art Paintings and Sculpture
Date:1863 - 1863

Maker Information

Artist:Simeon Solomon - View biography for Simeon Solomon


Solomon made many works depicting religious rituals, often featuring beautiful young men in the roles of idealised rabbis, priests or acolytes. These works are concerned as much with the aesthetic qualities of the rituals as with religious devotion.

This painting shows a young deacon in the Catholic Church, standing before an altar and carrying an urn. The vases on the altar probably contain myrtle, which in Solomon's work is often associated with love, both sacred and secular.

There is a tension between the physical beauty of the young model and the austerity and restraint of the religious theme and muted colouring. The painting reveals the parallel strands of the sacred and the sensual which run through Solomon's work, and are often combined in it.

Purchased with the aid of a donation in memory of Dr. Joseph Li, and supported by the Public Picture Gallery Fund, 2003.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Oil on canvas.


Height:350 mm
Width:254 mm

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