With La galerie des illustres David Nicholson created a series of intimate portraits, naturalistic oil paintings, with a depth and intensity which leaves reality fading in the eye of the observer. Aside from american literature scientist and critic Harold Bloom and his wife Celyn, the artist never saw any of his objects personal – and portayed his imagination, his ideal. In front of dark backgrounds faces and figures appear agravic, in them lives a luminance which enlightens them in an almost fantastic way.
Through the tension between light and colours and the advanced age of many of the portrayed persons arises a solemn, nearly serious atmosphere. The series shows an immersive and personal controversy of the artist with the cycle of life. He concentrates on beginnings and death and the shortness of life, which he applies to himself and captures his state in his self portraits. Although Nicholson doesn’t want to point out the inevitableness and desolation of the transience of life, he rather has a faible for the comical and humorous aspects of death.
He sees the series as a kind of search for wisdom. The paintings show his appreciation of historic magnitudes like italian poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri, russian writer Tolstoy or literary figures like Don Quixote.
The homonymous catalogue arrives attending the exhibition.