Priceless: + Elliott + Lady Jaqueline + The Archibald

This finalist entry in the Archibald Prize competition this year has my vote. But I am not quite sure whether Bishop Elliott is qualified to canonise his cat, even if he believes her qualified for the recognition! Yi Wang, the artist, is, I understand, one of the Bishop’s parishioners.

Bishop Elliott and Lady Jacqueline, by Yi Wang Archibald Prize 2010 Courtesy of The Art Gallery of New South Wales

Maybe this painting was the inspiration? HT to a Dominican reader.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Priceless: + Elliott + Lady Jaqueline + The Archibald

  1. Louise

    Great painting!

  2. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    The painting was the basis of great album cover art on the Muddy Waters classic “Fathers and Sons”.

  3. Some back story:

    Jacqueline belonged first to another priest, let’s call him Fr X, who named “him” Jack – the cat’s true gender wasn’t identified till she was given to then-Mgr Elliott when Fr X moved from a parish to working at the seminary, and had to give up having a pet cat; as the housekeeper testily observed, Only a priest wouldn’t know the sex of a cat!

    According to Elliott, Jacqueline (one suspects the implied surname is Kennedy) is very much the boss: he may be a prelate, indeed Most Reverend, but she’s the cat and therefore to be revered!

    Isn’t it a bit cruel to depict Elliott giving Jacqueline an electric shock?!

    • Anne

      Joshua whatever do you mean an electric shock? dont you know what halo looks like?
      Goodness me not only Priest doesnt know cat gender, poster Joshua doesnt know what cat haloes look like (lol)
      Anne

      • Peregrinus

        Ah, so person haloes go over the head, but cat haloes go over, um, the other end. Right, got it!

        Iconography – doncha just love it?

        • Anne

          Pere I am surprised that you didnt know that cat haloes on the opposite end.
          Here was I thinking you are so brainy..tut tut tut my lovely friend.
          Remember cat holoes…butt
          Anne

  4. I think Josh was joking, Anne!

  5. Yes, I quite like the painting, it is a good character portrait, not surprising that the artists knows the subject well, but the halo only makes it look a bit gimmicky, imo.

  6. David, btw, you have a typo in your post title: “Archbibald”; and yes, “artists” should be singular in my comment.

  7. Peter

    Another Catholic artist is in the running too! Should be interesting.

  8. Well, I can’t say I think much of the winner. It looks like something a gifted high-school student might paint, and achieves a good likeness, but it hardly looks like a prize winner. The treatment of the subject’s jeans and top, for e.g., doesn’t have the subtlety and mastery of chiaroscuro that Yang’s portrait displays.
    I wonder if the Archibald is judged these days on artistic merit or topicality, given that the subject of the winning portrait, Tim Minchin, is a well-known rationalist sceptic who originally suggested to the artist that he be painted as Christ on a perspex cross? Does anyone know if the judges publish a rationale for their decision?