Week Thirty: The Return of the Prodigal in Three Variations by Michael Vargas

July 28, 2019

Week Thirty: The Return of the Prodigal in Three Variations by Michael Vargas

As we come to the end of a month devoted to artworks illustrating the Parable of the Prodigal Son, I have selected a triptych of images from New Mexican Artist Michael Vargas that highlights a key activity of the Sacred Art Pilgrim Collection--the commissioning of new pieces on religious themes by artists who are currently active. At last count, just over a hundred drawings, paintings, and sculptures have been acquired in this way for the Collection.  I first met Vargas in his gallery in downtown Taos, New Mexico, before the Sacred Art Pilgrim officially went onto the internet, and he was one of the first ten artists featured in my on-line listings. During the past ten years, he has undertaken several commissions for me, including this trio of drawings and paintings inspired by the famous Rembrandt canvas of The Return of the Prodigal Son. I had asked Vargas to do a variation on the theme in the traditional way of the saint-makers of the American Southwest, and he did two preliminary sketches before creating his final oil on handmade paper painting in the classic santero style. (John Kohan)