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The Man Who Remembers What Birds Once Looked Like

Robert Lostutter

1973

oil on canvas

58" x 41 3/8"

This figure appears to be confined—ropes run throughout his body and he is without sight. His left hand forms the sign of the benediction. This holy gesture is often equated with images of Jesus Christ bestowing a blessing, yet in Lostutter’s rendering the man gestures toward the earth rather than the heavens above. This figure may serve to convey the artist’s own divine message: “I firmly believe that people don’t quite see. . . religion wants you to wait until you get to heaven and then you’ll be rewarded with a paradise. . . . I’m saying, Look around you. This is a paradise.” Interwoven between the ropes throughout his body are birds. This martyred figure, who hasn’t forgotten what birds look like, urges us to slow down, open our eyes, and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Credit

Promised gift of Mark and Judy Bednar