Catherine Hunter

Justin O’Brien: The Sacred Music of Colour DVD

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Australian artist Justin O’Brien (1917–96) was born in Sydney but his life and the focus of his art was firmly based in Europe. No other Australian artist has been so committed to religious subjects and the art of the Italian Renaissance. Although O’Brien left the Catholic church in the 1950s, he continued to be inspired by its stories and motifs.

“I love colour. I think in colour.
I’ve even dreamed in colour...
Justin O’Brien, 1961

O’Brien won the inaugural Blake Prize for Religious Art for his painting The Virgin Enthroned in 1951 which was later acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria. In 1973, O’Brien’s painting The Raising of Lazarus entered the Vatican Museum Collection.

Filmed in Rome, O’Brien’s adopted home, Art Gallery of NSW Emeritus Curator Barry Pearce takes the viewer to the source and and explains the artist’s fascination with and commitment to ideas of spirituality and sacrifice in his work.

duration: 28 minutes