Michael Bergt, “Mocked”, 2010, Egg Tempera on Panel, 27 x 22 Inches
Born in 1956, Michael Bergt is a self-taught artist who began as a watercolor pattern painter, and eventually emerged as an accomplished sculptor and egg-tempera artist in the style of Paul Cadmus. Bergt approached Cadmus in the early 1980s to learn more about the egg-tempera medium and eventually forged a strong friendship with the legendary master.
Michael Bergt sculpts and paints figures from life as well as his fertile imagination. His mark making is delicate and precise, while his palette is bold and exaggerated. Bergt often uses mythology as a reference points in his handling of contemporary subject matter. He has mastered egg-tempera, and is now leading a nationwide effort to call attention to this oft forgotten medium, The Society of Tempera Painters.
“Mocked is inspired by the Hieronymus Bosch painting of the same title; however, the Christ figure in my piece is completely different and based on a contemporary figure. I’ve always been intrigued by Bosch’s Mocked because the characters surrounding Christ are fantastic metaphorical profiles of evil personalities. Meanwhile, the Christ figure is passively awaiting the placement of the crown of thorns on his head. In my painting, the crown being placed on the head of Christ is in fact a metal studded collar that the model I painted might wear in real life. When I looked at the figure on the right in the Bosch painting, I realized he was also wearing a studded metal collar.” -Michael Bergt