Olympic gold medalist diver, Matthew Mitcham, recently modeled for Ross Watson. In this forthcoming exhibition he explores the themes of mentoring and isolation, whilst celebrating Australia’s greatest and most respected gay role models. The paintings reference classical masterpieces, including Caravaggio and Vermeer, which provide the settings for the narratives and contemporary subjects.
It is the first ever painting of Matthew Mitcham, and Watson invited Mitcham to choose his favorite classical reference from a variety by different artists before the modeling session. He chose the The ‘Fall of Phaeton’ by Sebastiano Ricci, which is regarded as one of the first examples of true baroque art in 17th Century Venice.
“Matthew is a great example of a number of high profile subjects who I’ve painted, and who are are strong role models for the gay community. It continues to sadden and concern me that same sex attracted youth are 4-6 times more likely to take their lives compared to their heterosexual peers.” Ross Watson
“The National Portrait Gallery’s Curator, Dr Christopher Chapman, says that “the National Portrait Gallery is very pleased to acknowledge Matthew Mitcham’s contribution to sport and to the gay community by including his portrait in the collection. The painting is terrifically dynamic and I am sure it will be immensely popular with our visitors when it is on display here.”
“Isn’t it marvellous! I’m incredibly flattered to have been depicted like this in such a stunning scene.” Matthew Mitcham
Check out two nude photos of Matthew Mitcham by Ross Watson AFTER THE JUMP.