ANDRÉ DURAND Twenty-First Century Paintings
THE CALLING OF SAINT ANDREW
Dimensions: 70 X 90
Oil on linen
19 “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.
16 “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men”.
Mark 1: 16-17
According to the gospel Andrew was out fishing when he was called. Durand gives a contemporary twist to the subject, by setting the calling of Saint Andrew not on the Sea of Galilee but in East Sussex, at Didling.
The “shepherd’s church” of saint Andrew’s, frequently appears in Durand’s pictures of this period. It is at the heart of the composition. The young fisherman, carrying a pair rainbow trout, (fish are mentioned and given symbolic meaning several times in the Gospels) turns back toward the voice of an unseen stranger in the road who calls to him. Andrew gestures to himself incredulously, as though he can not believe it is he who has been called by Jesus.
Durand’s The Calling of St Andrew
Light of the North
André Durand, whose painting, The Calling of St Andrew features on our cover, achieved international artistic acclaim for his official portraits of John Paul II (1983) and the Dalai Lama (1983, 1989). His work is influenced by the great masters such as Rubens, Titian, Michelangelo and Velázquez among a host of many other 14th-16th century and mostly Italian painters. The mythological and religious subject matter in Durand’s 21st century paintings calls upon the fundamental archetypes which have as much meaning to us now as they did in the Renaissance.
Durand’s own patron saint is St Andrew and the artist gives a contemporary twist to his subject, by setting the calling of Saint Andrew not on the Sea of Galilee but in Sussex. However, Durand’s striking use of light imbues the painting with that special radiance which we often associate with the early evening in the North of Scotland and which is further enhanced by the luminous skin tones and vibrant palette of blue, mauve and green.
According to the Gospel, Andrew was out fishing when he was called: “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men’” (Mark 1: 16-17).
The young fisherman, carrying a pair of rainbow trout, turns back toward the voice of an unseen stranger in the road who calls to him. Andrew gestures to himself incredulously, as though he cannot believe it is he who has been called by Jesus, an oblique reference to “The calling of Sts Peter and Andrew” by the great Italian artist, Michelangelo Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) who was renowned for his radical naturalism.
Fish feature in many of the Gospel stories and the fish subsequently became a symbol for Christ, adopted by the early Christians at a time when a direct reference to Christ could have resulted in persecution.
Durand’s placing of St Andrew in a familiar contemporary setting sets the scene for an amazing journey of faith which took a simple fisherman, one of the first Apostles, from Palestine to Asia Minor, Hungary, Russia, Poland and Greece on a mission dedicated to bringing non-Jews to Christ. Ultimately, he was to meet his death in Greece, where he was crucified on a diagonal cross.
St Andrew is of course the patron saint of Scotland and the Feast of St Andrew falls on the 30th November when Scots men and women around the world will celebrate.
The Calling of SS Peter and Andrew
by Orazio Gentileschi
Royal Collection, Hampton Court
It is only since 2006 that this version of The Calling of SS Peter and Andrew has been tenuously [erroneously]attributed to Caravaggio. Instead, this gracious painting should be attributed to Orazio Gentileschi [Italian Baroque Era Painter, ca.1563-1639].
It was long thought to be a copy of the lost original. Restoration has revealed new details that point to the Italian master, one of more important painters influenced by Caravaggio (the so-called Caravaggisti). He was the father of the painter Artemisia Gentileschi. The work was acquired by King Charles I in 1637.