Named one of the most collectable living artists by Robb Report, Tomasz Rut continues to expand the realm of contemporary figurative painting to the artistic limits reached only by the Great Masters of the past. Often compared to the epic works of the Antiquity, Renaissance and Baroque, his artwork resurrects the dormant Classical tradition of painting, emulating the style, harmonious elegance and passion in the spirit of Michelangelo, Raphael or Caravaggio, but does it in an eloquent, modern adaptation, accommodating the contemporary viewer.
Inspired by the mythological Greco-roman origins of our western culture, the content of Rut’s work is at once dreamlike and tangible. Melding the sublime and the real, the artist seeks not to portray mythology as reality, but he transforms his subjects into sensuous, universal themes that emanate from a unique, modern viewpoint, untinged by the all too frequent decadence, cynicism and confusion proliferating the art scene since Courbet’s – circa 1860 – exhortation: “Show me and angel and I’ll paint you one.”
While revisiting and honoring the past, Rut fast-forwards through history and points us in the direction of an inwards journey to explore the timeless spiritual realm, which transcends the ebbs and flows of aesthetic penchants and trendy fashions. His generic subjects, usually stripped of identifiable décor, not unlike the immortal mythological heroes, preserved and still proudly alive in Greco-roman statues or Pompeian frescoes – weathering the battle against time, decay and obliteration – remind us not only of our glorious history, but mainly, of the perseverance of the inherent human ability to remain beautiful and noble despite our ageing and losses.
Tomasz Rut’s paintings are filled with inspirational messages, often simple and sentimental, but invariably demonstrating the artist’s persistent faith in humanity.
This is perhaps most apparent in his numerous depictions of winged angels, often in compelling interactions, who - without being judgmental - encourage to evaluate our ethical conduct. Removed from their celestial clouds found in traditional religious art, merciful and tender, rather than admonishing or chastising, they coexist with their fallen human counterparts in the same realm, healing wounds, offering life giving water, restoring faith. In fact, given tangible human emotions and personalities, they often appear fragile and vulnerable themselves to the weaknesses of their human subjects, implying an ambiguous outcome of their assistance, and translating into our eternal struggle between right and wrong.
This powerful theme of good and evil can be found again in the artist’s dynamic renditions of horses and wrestlers, embattled between the earthly and ethereal realm. In their immortal struggle for survival, his heroic subjects become an allegory of courage and revolt against defeat and decay, and illustrate our resilience to the forces seeking our oblivion.
Accentuating the dramatic collision between the creation and destruction is the artificial patina, which resembles the quality of an aged, distressed wall fresco, ubiquitous in all of Rut’s paintings. Beyond the purely aesthetic considerations, the illusion adds another dimension to the resultant work, whereas in the juxtaposition of beauty versus decay, the artist implies the eternal cycle of survival, controlled only by our acts of faith and determination.
Over and over again, whether in his sensual depictions of romantic couples, epitomizing the passion and compassion borne out of tender embraces and simple human kindness or in the youthful bodies of his beautiful models and musicians synonymous with the sublime source of aesthetics and inspiration, somewhere between the admiration for our abilities and the empathy for our weaknesses, Tomasz Rut’s art continues to cultivate our hope, love and understanding.