Ideally, commissions for paintings are usually clear and straightforward and they haven’t changed much since the days of Michelangelo. For example: I agree to paint your subject for x amount of florins, euros or dollars; we agree on the medium and the dimensions, and we agree on the deadline for its completion. I insist on being paid half the fee for my work in advance. After business matters are settled, it’s my responsibility to finish and deliver the work. I do my best to make you content so that you write a check for the remainder of my fee.
In the “real” world of painting on commission, the best of circumstances happen rarely. In the case of “A Wedding,“ however, the situation could hardly have been better. The client’s request was straight and clear: Please paint me and my husband alone in front of the altar on our special day. No priest, no altar boys, no relatives, just us.
The most important component of a wedding is the bride and groom; everything else is background. But what if the background is as interesting as the couple? Especially if it overflows with symbols? I mean that in the altarpiece behind this couple there’s nothing less than saints and angels witnessing the vows of the Sacrament of Matrimony. So I painted the watercolor accordingly, as if the earthly and heavenly realms reflected each other, both equally important.
Often clients don’t like such imaginative interpretations. In this case, the client was content and paid me what amounted to almost half of a round trip ticket to Madrid.
That was four years ago. I hope that, with the blessings of the Heavenly Host, the happy couple is still a happy couple.