David Michael Smith's "King George III"

 
From the moment I first saw SF-based artist David Michael Smith‘s work at Scott Richards Contemporary Art a month or so ago, I was smitten. I had the chance to see this latest creation, King George III, at the SF Fine Art Fair, and I liked it so well that I was inspired to create this new section so I could talk about it: my pick of the week.
Smith draws on historic personalities, pop culture, and symbolism to add rich (often creepy or dark) narrative to his beautifully rendered, almost surreal paintings. Note, for this work, he also made the frame and constructed the clock.
Here is Smith’s full description of this painting as stated on gallery Website: This painting depicts King George III, the third British monarch from the House of Hanover. By all accounts a well-intentioned, pious, and judicious king, he suffered in later life from recurrent and, eventually, permanent mental illness. This is generally supposed to have been the result of the blood disease porphyria.
One of the symptoms of porphyria is a purple discoloration of urine during an attack. The painting is saturated with the color purple and the glass bowl under his right hand is full of a purple liquid. The pillar behind him is made of porphyry (derived from the same Greek word, meaning “purple pigment,” from which the disease is named) as is the clock face set into the frame. I’ve included symbols of madness in the painting including a hornet and a tulip and the looming storm on the horizon.
King George III kept a menagerie of exotic animals at Kew Gardens and I’ve included the monkeys as a reference to them. As his life became more and more wretched due to his illness, he lived much of his later years as a prisoner in Windsor Castle, subjected to the harsh treatment of various doctors. I imagine he could have felt quite a kinship with these creatures, ripped from the normalcy of their lives and put behind bars.

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