Painting of a Beggar by Andrea Beech
"Merci" is one of my favorite paintings at ArikiArt. This work by artist Andrea Beech from Havelock North in New Zealand is a painting that is full of imagery.
The subject of the painting is a beggar dressed in a long flowing gray robe that covers his entire body from head to toe. The cowl over the beggar's head is reminiscent of the robe worn by the figure of the Grim Reaper, albeit that the robe is gray, not black. I imagine that the beggar lives with death close at hand.
The beggar is asking for alms by someone not in view, however in the background is the planet Earth, positioned such that it rests in the outstretched hand of the beggar suggesting perhaps that the cry for food and water goes out to the entire world. Another interpretation of this might be a reference to the beatitude that "The meek shall inherit the earth".
A wide vertical red stripe descends the from top to bottom, through the beggar's shoulders and back, suggestive of the cross he bears and the blood of Christ flowing down the staff of the cross.
The title of the work is also a wonderful play on words: "merci" is of course the French word for "Thank You", no doubt the phrase that a beggar most wishes to utter upon receiving some gift of food or water, but of course it is also a pun on the English word "mercy", something else that the beggar no doubt wishes to receive of us.
John Corney Ariki Art Online Galleries