ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 16 – Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 12-16 March 2020

Lot 16 – F.N. Souza – Still Life With Lamps – 1993 – 24 x 30 in. (61 x 76.2 cm.) – Oil on canvas

The Roman Catholic Church made a huge impact on the upbringing of F.N. Souza, shaping his personal beliefs and his art. He revisited the theme continuously through the years and incorporated most of its elements in his works, including still-lifes, pseudo-saints, and the palette of his landscapes. 

Painted in 1993, Souza explored the tradition of vanitas, a genre of still-life paintings showing the transitory nature of life and the certainty of death, in the current lot. He depicted a skull alongside a variety of lamps aflame to allude to the shortness and fragility of life, using his signature thick black outlines and somber palette. By placing them as if on an altar awaiting their part in some liturgical practice, he instilled a subtle ecclesiastical theme in the work. This depiction and setting, which he initially explored in the 1950s, represent a compositional cornerstone in the artist’s oeuvre.

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art – ‘Modern and Contemporary’ – March 12 -16, 2020