“A portrait can certainly move you, but an abstract piece can evoke deeper, higher-order thinking.”
Those are words straight from the Argentian artist himself. Jorge Cocco’s abstract images of Jesus and other Christian art have become increasingly popular, with several of his pieces on display in museums in Utah, Spain, and even Japan.
The shapes and angles Jorge uses in his art carry aspects of the post-cubist art movement. Cubism is an art form inspired by other abstract artists such as Picasso and Braque and depicts objects and scenes from different angles rather than a set perspective and realistic shapes. Jorge calls his specific style “sacrocubism” because he uses the abstract nature of cubism to illustrate sacred messages and themes.
Here are a few of our favorites:
The Call is one of Jorge Cocco’s most popular pictures of Jesus. It’s a depiction of the biblical scene when Christ invites His apostles to follow him--an invitation that he extends to all of us.
This religious painting has a rich color scheme of blues and a modern pattern that makes it fit in any home.
Sermon on the mount
Christ uttered some of life's greatest truths during his sermon on the mount.
In contrast to the dark blues of the previous painting, this image of Jesus Christ is full of warmer colors.
It illustrates not only a sunny day but also the light of the truth that the Savior always shares with His listeners.
The most somber scene in the New Testament, Gethsemane, can be a tricky topic to portray accurately.
Here, Jorge contrasts the surrounding dark with sharp shapes of light, implying the eternal saving power of the Savior’s darkest moment.
It’s a reminder that, because of Him, we too can find light during our personal Gethsemane.
Similar to the previous picture of Jesus Christ, The Tempest captures a sense of hope in an otherwise dark scene.
It is a depiction of the apostles struggling to stay afloat just as the Savior calms the overwhelming storm. The busy swirl of shapes near the apostles, contrasted with the clarity of shape and color around Christ,
it's a calming message to the noise and rush of everyday life: “Peace, be still.”
To the trained eye, Jorge has a clear line of vision in this piece of LDS artwork. The artist himself points out that Western culture has trained us to start left-to-right when reading or viewing an image, which is why he positioned God the Father and Jesus Christ in the upper left-hand corner. From there, he says:
“I have moved a descending virtual diagonal from heaven to the earth positioning first the figure of the Father, who makes the pass with his hand to the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ who in turn directs our sight with his hand to the young Joseph, who is located in the lower right area. This is a suggestion of transmission of glory, authority, responsibility or power passing symbolically from the Father to the Son, and from Him to Joseph.”
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a well-known scene from the Book of Mormon, symbolizing God’s love and our journey to Jesus Christ.
In this piece, Jorge chose to focus on a family’s journey. They have reached the tree of life together despite the clouds of darkness and other temptations surrounding them.
Baptism of Christ
Events during Christ’s life, such as his baptism, are a popular topic of Christian art.
Jorge and his trademark style masterfully execute this scene. We see not only Jesus Christ and John, but in the sky, there are telltale shapes that give the impression of “the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.”
The surroundings are open so that we, like the believers in the painting, can experience the scene.
Jorge captures the beloved symbol of angel Moroni, his sacrocubism style, adding a sense of movement to what we otherwise recognize in LDS art as the statue on top of temples.
He also chose to use skin, hair, and robe colors over the classic gold color. The overall effect makes the familiar image come to life as if the angel Moroni were present and proclaiming his message.
It is finished
In this beautiful picture of Jesus Christ, Jorge takes a unique approach to depict the crucifixion. The focus of the image is less on the Savior’s death and more on His victory.
We see Christ’s spirit rising, now free of pain, to reunite with His father. It’s a message of hope that, because of Jesus Christ, death is not the end.
Jorge Cocco’s abstract art also extends to Jesus’ parables. For example, in Good Shepherd, we see what the scene described in the book of John:
“He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out...he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
Christ taught that He is the good shepherd. Like the shepherd in the painting and the parable, He will watch after us and carry us, so long as we trust His guidance.
blessing the children
Blessing the Children
One of the most inspiring stories in the Book of Mormon is when the resurrected Christ blesses the children.
In the account, He reminds the people to “behold your little ones” as angels surround each child.
Jorge depicts Jesus Christ blessing the children the way He does each of us: as individuals.
Go and do
The prophet Nephi lived his life with courage. Even from a young age, he promised that he would “go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commanded them.”
In Nephi’s expression, Jorge captures the determination and faith that was a hallmark to this leader’s legacy.
Want to see more? Brigham Young University - Idaho’s gallery is currently featuring a Jorge Cocco. Look for the exhibit: Events from the Book of Mormon: Jorge Cocco Santángelo. We're so excited to see the success that Jorge is having with his work. His style allows him to get to the heart of the scenes and stories he portrays, which gives each piece a powerfully spiritual impact.
You can also purchase Jorge’s art for your home or a for a special gift here at Altus. Do you have a personal favorite of his? We’d love to hear about it!