John the Baptist (Seize the Day)

John the Baptist (Seize the Day), 2011
Acrylic, Gold Leaf, and Glitter on Canvas Mounted on Board
48″ x 36″
The painting John the Baptist (Seize the Day) examines one of many popular religious themes explored in fine arts during the Middle Ages (particularly in Europe). During this era, the church was the authority and any commissioned paintings depicted various religious icons and themes. John the Baptist was a major religious figure that leads the movement of baptism at the Jordan River and foretold the coming of Jesus. He frequently appeared in many Christian art, such as one of the most famous paintings of him in Leonardo Da Vinci’s work of art. These paintings all depict a scene from his life such as Salome bearing John’s head on a platter or the baptism of Christ. Though the intention in this work isn’t to glorify any religious saints, but to present the parallels of art history during this time period and the human understanding of mortality. Though he anticipates the eventual beheading, he sits dramatically on a boulder with one foot on a skull. In the midst of the oscillating hues and clouds that are exhibited in the background towers over a landscape that represents the dichotomy of life and death. To me, the role religion has played on mankind associates a higher authority that influences inspiration, faith, and sometimes war. This personal idea has lead me to add a conspicuous inscription of the skull that reads John 1:29 (“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”). The use of genuine gold leaf reflects its inherit value and symbolism that was widely used in those icon paintings. Though there are many interpretations regarding Carpe Diem, it’s a notion that correlates with humanity in living those lives due to our limited mortality.



About Julian Peña

I'm a visual artist and student currently in progress to attaining a Bachelors of Fine Arts. I've been creating fantastical works of art since I was at the age of 13 years old. My work is transcendent beyond the material world and life itself. The paintings are polychromatic and visually exciting, while still maintaining a level of harmony. The subjects in many of these works of art may not exist at all despite what we perceive. It is a play on perception, an attempt to engage the viewers. I has earned numerous scholarships, participated in several group exhibitions, and already organized my own solo exhibition (CMYK, 2011). My meticulous and unique style is visually arresting. New ideas are constantly being examined and then visually communicated. Come check out my works at! I am is also currently part of the 253 Collective (a co-op) in downtown Tacoma. I currently live and work out of my loft in downtown Tacoma, WA.

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