'A Mystical Apparition' by Jose Villegas y Codero
There is a wonderful contrast between the translucence of the apparition and the substance of the surroundings. The apparition is the focal point yet it is not a completely solid fixture. It is the composition of the image that leads the viewer to focus on the apparition. The stances and the positions of the people frame the focal point. As the viewer we follow the gaze of those within the image. This is something we do in our daily lives, if you look behind a person they will always turn to see what you are looking at. Within this painting this natural instinct is being utilized to control the viewers focus.
The apparition contains aspects of a figure and incorporates references that encourage the viewer to picture the sky. There is a hint of a rainbow and a solid sphere to remind us of the sun. We then connect the figure to the sky and this enhances our perception that it is a transparent intangible figure, even though it is only the surrounding area of the figure that actually contains any transparency.
It is obvious, this is a painting by someone who has never experienced any kind of mystical apparition or vision. Interestingly, this painting is by someone who has complete understanding of the visual perception of others and knows how to use that perception. It is a beautiful image, full of techniques that position the viewer where the artist desires. I always paint from my emotions so this approach feels alien to me. I can see what this artist is doing, and in many ways I feel as though I am watching a magician. It is a different kind of magic, for me art is an act of expression, whereas this image is an act of manipulation in which the viewer is guided to the desired perception. I can see the attempt and I understand how my gaze is being manipulated and still I allow my eyes to be fooled. The image is beautiful and because of this I embrace the deception. The piece is magnificent.