I recently completed a work (see below) inspired by Charles Darwin’s historic voyage on the HMS Beagle. History buffs are likely to recall that 2009 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, a book whose conclusions are drawn directly from the observations made on this journey, which makes the subject of this painting timely. Besides that, recent events in the news bear striking resemblance to experiences Darwin, Fitzroy and crew had on their voyage. Chile’s earthquake this past spring, parallels one that happened during the 1837 voyage which caused much amazement and wonder because there was no loss of life from the quake or the tidal wave it spawned.
On a more personal note, it was my reading of Alan Moorehead’s Darwin and the Beagle that reignited an interest in mapmaking and eventually led to this series on journeys. My knowledge of this journey was more intimate; hence, this voyage occupied a privileged position in the series and demanded a different level of conviction. Its narrative features had to be stronger and more evocative. And like Darwin’s experiences, the painting had to come perilously close to sensory and conceptual overload.
Darwin and the Beagle, 2010, acrylic on paper, 36″ x 48″ ©
This work will be exhibited later this summer at Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY.