Ralph Wolfe Cowan, American (1931 - 2018)

Mr. Cowan is considered the number one portrait painter in the world and has been recognized for painting more reigning monarchs and world leaders than any other painter in history. He has been featured on numerous international news and talk shows including "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," "To Tell the Truth," "Entertainment Tonight," "Texas Today," several Japanese programs and middle-eastern shows. He has been a judge for Miss Universe and Miss USA.

Among his Royal Patrons are H.M. Sultan of Brunei, H.M. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, H.M. King Hassan II of Morocco, H.H. President Shaikh Zayed of the Emirates, the Royal Family of Monaco, President of Chile, President and Mrs. Marcos, President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. Presidents Reagan, Carter, Johnson, and Kennedy.

Mr. Cowan was the only painter that Elvis ever commissioned for a portrait and the full length masterpiece was the only portrait Elvis ever allowed to hang in Graceland. He painted six album covers for Johnny Mathis including his first album "Heavenly." Debbie Reynolds, Liz Taylor, Ava Gardener, Michael Jackson, Kenny Rogers, and Sally Jessie Raphael are just a few of the many celebrities touched by Cowan's brush.

About the painting:

For many years in meditation, where I get the first vision on my allegorical pictures, I had seen a nude woman on a cross in a real crucifixion scene. I wanted to do the painting as part of my series Angel Dialogues. It was to show a woman in the ultimate previous male sacrifice. The beginning of the painting coincided with the Gulf War and the words of "pin-up" being part of my thoughts and there had to be a face and body, so it became Mae West impersonating Betty Grable who was impersonating Marilyn Monroe who was impersonating Madonna or vice versa.

The wooden cross partially became replaced by a Cruise Missile. Subconsciously there are things happening I am unaware of. I painted it consciously to be a part crucifixion and I see the look of courage in her eyes and tears of compassion because she is not being hurt even thought the stigmata appears. This girl cannot be pinned up or pinned down. She has already broken loose and would dodge any spears heading her way. The harpoonist to her right is all tangled up in legal fears. The gold record above her head represents the thorniness of dealing with a record company; her crown of thorns. The face of Christ near her head is reminding her to forgive them, they know not what they do, these would-be persecutors, ranging from the crowds at her feet from El Greco’s "The Judgement of Christ" to the famous old bitter Grant Wood couple "American Gothic." The oil paint tube attacked by his pitchfork represents the man hating the first painting and definitely hating this painting and probably hating all art, both visual and performing. The irony in the window behind them is their would-be great granddaughter warming up to be the next Madonna.

The wisest face on the painting is of the black man at her feet who must have seen a similar action of a black hanging in the 20’s or 30’s. His eyes are saying "I can’t believe they’re still doing it to their own."

The guardian angel to the right is her angel Muse and inspiration for her music and protecting her from any real harm from the crowds. The hand above the angel is the hand of the artist, Ralph Wolfe Cowan, trying to pull it all into focus. In that area there is a goat trashing a document, probably a marriage certificate.

>Further up the steep mountain to her magic castle of dreams, there is tough climbing through the TV tube where she encountered a major rat. The little girl in the school dress hanging on the cross represents the pin-up girl as a school girl and she’s screaming "I had not idea the climb would be so high and so dangerous." The helicopters are major protection for her magic castle as well as representing the return of the soldiers. The dollar bill flying out of the picture means the beginning of the great passage from the third dimensional material world to the fourth dimensional world of great spiritual wisdom. The whole picture is the transformation to that dimension, true wisdom and true love that shows in all the little figures.

The No. 4 on the cruise Missile is the direction of the picture. The only moral of the story would be "don’t cruise fallen angels, they will still take you down with them" depicted by the beautiful male angel on the left. The whole story is as old as the original crucifixion and the partial story of the great Joan of Arc. It is the perfect collaboration of the best artist and the lady of the 90’s and as the U.S.A. on the missile shows, it can only happen in America.

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