David Ligare, Arcadian Shepherd, (Et In Arcadia Ego) (detail), 2021, oil on canvas, 50 x 72 in.


David Ligare makes paintings about ideas. He accomplishes this by rendering scenes with great technical skill from stories that are grounded in classical mythology which now comprise many of Western culture’s foundational texts. At a time when contemporary artists eschew historical narrative painting; preferring conceptual art, abstraction, or traditional realism, Ligare’s paintings may seem anachronistic in comparison. But many such critics would be surprised to learn how he came to his subject matter. It was precisely the innovator's impulse to do something that wasn’t being done by others that led him to this style of painting. Over forty years later, Ligare continues to mine rich historical narratives that offer ways of processing contemporary ethical challenges and infusing meaning into our complex lives.

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