Way back in 2008, I did a little painting titled ‘Study for the Triumph of Icarus’. As the title implies, the painting was intended to be a figure study for a larger, multiple figure composition depicting an alternate ending for the story of Icarus. While I understand the cautionary value the original version may have had for people of ancient Greece who were often sending young men to war, the story now is most often used to depict the inevitable failure of human ambition. I always liked the idea of Icarus succeeding in his flight to safety off of the island of Crete where he and his Father, Daedalus, were imprisoned.
I keep coming back to the idea, and over the past eight years it has evolved into more of a narrative about Daedalus and being a parent (or a teacher or mentor). It seems to me that Daedalus, the master craftsman and designer (these days we would say engineer) who designed and built the mechanical wings he and his son used to escape Crete, is the central figure and hero of the story. He is up against the gods, but through his own ingenuity is able overcome a seemingly impossible set of obstacles and emerge triumphant (at least in my version).
The composition is set on the shores of Sicily, where Daedalus has just landed, having successfully competed his own flight. After ten years of work designing the wings and doing everything he could to prepare Icarus for the crossing, he is waiting, anxious and exhausted, hoping his son, who is now on his own, flying out of Crete under his own power, has survived. I want to show him at the very moment he realizes Icarus is alive as he comes in for a landing.
It’s an idea I have been wanting to turn into a full painting for years, but have been waiting until I could do it on the large it deserves. I am beyond excited that, thanks to some incredible patrons, the painting has been commissioned at a glorious 120×60 inches! Ten feet by five!
Below is the conceptual sketch the clients have signed off on. I’m currently building the the 120×60 inch aluminum composite panel I’m going to paint the full version on, but I’m going to need some models.
EDIT: I should mention that I am located in Salt Lake City, UT, and it would be ideal if I could get all the models together at one time to work out the interactions between the various poses.
I need 6 models, one for each figure in the sketch.
For Icarus (the strapping, young, airborne fellow on the left) I’m looking for someone 16-25 with a very athletic although not bulky build. Although I paint from reference photos, this pose could prove to be physically demanding even during the short duration of the photo shoot.
For Daedalus (Icarus’ father, the designer and builder of the mechanical wings) I’m looking for someone 45-60 (or younger…I can add some gray to your hair), with a powerful, muscular, athletic build. Daedalus will be the central figure, and his facial expressions and body language will be critical to the theme of the painting, so I’ll need a model who is able to get into the role.
I’m looking for two female models 20-45-ish for the two figures on the right.
Finally, I need two child models, probably both male, although that isn’t set in stone, one 6-8 years old and one 10-12.
As I mentioned earlier, I paint from photographic references, so we’re talking about a photo-shoot. If you are interested in posing for any of the figures in the painting, or if you know someone that would fit the part, please email me at email@example.com so I can give you all the details.
In the mean time, I’ve got some panel construction to see to…
The 120×60 inch Aluminum Composite panel is built and on the easel. I even installed a hands-free mahl stick on rails to keep my hand off the painting while I work. I still need to prime it before it’s ready for paint, but it’s good to be able to move around the studio again!