I’m not fond of mounted animals, but I do like animal skeletons and skulls. This year I painted a sort of tribute to one of my mentors (1471-1528). For this I was inspired by the skull of a domestic sheep, the Jacop sheep. A beautiful animal. Is still being breeded. It concerned a ram.

Not only do I love animal skulls, I also like symbols. In old Egypt the ram was an appearance of the god Chnoem (ramshead). From that in Late antiquity Jupiter Ammon developed. The ram also belonged to the Indonesian god Indra. In Greece the ram was an attribute of Hermes. In Judaism, and thus also in christianity, we have the story of Abraham, who sacrifices a ram, in stead of his son. In astrology the ram also has a role, it is the first fire sign of the zodiac.

I then made this painting, with trompe l’oeil effects and a homage to the Northern Renaissance, in the person of Albrecht Dürer. To this several symbols were indorsed: the skull of my Jacob sheep; a spica of wheat; the shell of a sea slug (Lambis lambis); a book (Wilhelm Waetzoldt, Dürer und seine Zeit, Vienna, Phaidon Verlag, 1935); notes with quotes from that book; a painted instead of a real frame. The painting is signed in mirror writing.

This painting can be purchased for € 3.700,-.

Riebo Rietema, A homage and a Jacob sheep, oil on MDF, 22,44” x 19,69”, 2019.