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Aidan Barker-Hill

New York Academy of Art

Xanthe in Red
oil on canvas

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Tell us about the work that you have submitted.

This painting of my girlfriend is inspired by Michelangelo’s Libyan Sibyl. While Michelangelo’s prophetess twists upward triumphantly, my girlfriend twists downward, creating a mood of despondency that my cheerful Quattrocento palette cannot lift.

How do you describe your work and practice?

My art is rooted in observation, tempered by Italian Renaissance-influenced stylization. I’m trying to find a place in our irony-adoring art world to make sincere, beautiful work depicting the things I love. Rebellious, right?

What motivated you to apply to the XL Catlin Art Prize?

This seemed like a great opportunity to show my work and see how it fit in with contemporary figurative art from students across the country.

What about figurative work do you find particularly inspiring?

Figurative art is inherently empathetic – there is no other subject matter to which we respond so immediately and instinctually. This gives figurative art the greatest emotional potential; I want my work to move you.

aidanbarkerhill.com