Last year we introduced you to an incredible artist, Jorge Cocco. After a successful 5 month-long art exhibit in downtown Salt Lake, Cocco is more well-known and popular than ever. He has since created many new masterpieces that we are excited to share with you! But first, let’s reintroduce you to the Argentinian art master, Jorge Cocco.
In 1967, President Spencer W. Kimball said at an address at Brigham Young University, “Can there never be another Michelangelo? Ah! Yes!...What could be the result if discovery were made of equal talent in men who were clean and free from the vices, and thus entitled to revelations?”
In other words, he was suggesting that faithful, inspired individuals who are worthy of having the spirit with them, could create art masterpieces that would stand the test of time and be inspirational for generations to come. How exciting that we get to see this actually coming to fruition through Jorge Cocco.
In 2015, the church discovered 80 year old master artist from Argentina, Jorge Cocco, when he entered his piece, “The Call” into their international art competition. He uses his unique approach to show us a new perspective on the Gospel of Jesus Christ using bright colors, sacrocubism and technical mastery. He explains, “I don’t add anything to the painting just because it looks nice, but every stroke, line and color are deliberately placed to express the theme.”
As a convert to the church in 1962, he and his wife were the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in their city, Concepción del Uruguay. It was mid-winter and he and his pregnant wife were baptized in the ice-cold Uruguay river.
In an interview with LDS Living, Cocco says, “From the moment I understood the gospel, not only did I change my life but also the concept of myself . . . the concept of why I was created and what my art was supposed to be. . . . I understood that my art needed to be spiritual, even if I wasn’t painting religious concepts. My paintings needed to elevate and inspire the human being.”
Jorge Cocco Santangelo is a fine artist in all the extent of the word. He is a self-taught artist with international recognition that has mastered various disciplines in the fine arts such as painting, sculpture, lithograph, etching, ceramic and washi zokei (art with handmade paper).
His art can be found in galleries around the world. Jorge has also taught University courses and has published several art textbooks and articles during his art career.
Cocco has recently created a new line of artistic expression for sacred art combining it with cubism, hence the name “sacrocubism.”
NEW PIECES OF ART
Cocco has several new pieces of art that we want to showcase. Here are a few of our favorites!
As you can see by these new images, Jorge Cocco is in the height of his career and is still turning out masterpiece after masterpiece.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints acquired 21 original pieces of art from Jorge Cocco and put them up for all to see in a 5 month-long exhibit last year in Salt Lake City. Featured as one of the pieces in that exhibit, was his work, “The Call”.
Cocco explains, “This painting won the purchase award at the Church Museum’s international competition in 2015, and it was the first painting I did in the new sacrocubism style.”
“The selection of blues is dominant in the pallet and signify that it was a crucial moment in history and incomplete separation of worldly logic. The Lord chose the future leaders of the Church among the most humble individuals.”
“A stripe of white light descends over the Savior symbolizing purity. The Lord comes into the scene framed by an inverted L, the symbol of righteousness, and his horizontally stretched arm, vigorously indicates the certainty of his election. As an echo, the sail and the ship form another L. The group of fishermen are in the middle of the balance between their earthly chores and the sacred calling; that is another reason why they are not completely identified, but are vaguely synthesized.”
Another one of his most popular pieces is, “The Tempest - Peace Be Still.” He gained more exposure and popularity as he entered this one into the Mormon Arts Festival last year in New York.
Cocco says of this piece, “In this scene, the drama is transmitted through the absence of pure and bright colors. I constrained myself to paint with a pallet of dark tones and a limited variety of colors to cover all elements and figures, it is truly a monochromatic painting. The ship, the sea, the sky, the clothing of Jesus, they all have the same colors and tones. The Lord, solemn and powerful stands out before the only stroke of light. Practically he is the only structure who maintains a vertical position, his rope in the wind and his arm advancing forward in diagonal commanding peace and calm. The remainder of the space is agitated by waving and broken lines in a subjective disorder. The three disciples are forming a triangle, and while two of them rely in their human efforts, oblivious of the miracle that is about to happen, the third disciple is already turning to observe the Lord of heaven and sea.”
Jorge Cocco explains his painting, The First Vision: “Our Western culture has conditioned us, both in the reading of texts and in the perception of images, to initiate the observation preferentially from top to bottom and from left to right (see the use of the capital letter which is often larger and decorated in any written material.) Precisely from the upper left corner, I have moved a descending virtual diagonal from heavens 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.”
Jorge Cocco uses the talent God has given him to express his testimony in a way that transcends mere words alone. He says, “Testimonies are hard to express in full. . . I think I can share my testimony with more strength through art than what I could express with my words or deeds.”
Cocco is an accomplished artist with many awards and acknowledgments, yet remains ever humble and grateful to Heavenly Father for the blessings he has been given. “I think that what we can accomplish in life is minimal compared to what the blessings of God are. He has given us so many talents and blessings, and we can only do just a very small portion.”
Missed his exhibit in downtown Salt Lake last year? There is another opportunity to view his art in person! The exhibit at BYU-Idaho, Jorge Cocco Santángelo: Sacred Events from the Life of Christ, will be starting April 4, 2019.
To buy prints of Cocco’s work, visit https://altusfineart.com/collections/jorge-cocco.
In this video clip published by LDS Living, Cocco talks about his childhood and his conversion.
The Gospel Vision of the Arts by Spencer W. Kimball