Truancy is a study on absence of a crucial aspect from a famous work of art. By taking out the religious figure in each of these frescos / paintings, I was able to completely change the meaning of the piece. By taking out God in Creation of Adam, Adam becomes an desperate man stretching a hand out to the void, finding nothing. When Da Vinci originally painting the Last Supper, he painted everyone leaning away and shrinking into the background in order to increase the importance of the focal image, Jesus. Now that the focal point has been removed, the entire piece is completely unbalanced. The subjects of the painting shrink away from the void in the center, as if fleeing from some invisible, nefarious presence. In Bloch’s The Tranfiguration, we see three men thrusting hands over their eyes as they encounter a blinding light. Although originally, the blinding light issued from Jesus’s encounter with Moses and Elijah, now it looks almost like the exhaust of a spacecraft launching, or perhaps landing. The final piece I used for my Truancy is a lesser known painting, Lucifer, by Franz Von Stuck. We can see Stuck’s beautiful contrast between the darkness of hell, and the tiny sliver of light piercing into the depths, yet Lucifer, the prince of Darkness, is himself absent. With the lord of hell gone from this piece, I feel that it takes on an almost more ominous quality. The unnatural vacancy forces you to ask yourself: what is truly more terrifying, an afterlife in hell, or simple oblivion, without an afterlife evil or fair?
Within each piece, there is a unifying feature: a crack in the canvas, where originally there was the holy figure. These cracks represent the uncanny void we discover when we take out something that is essential to a piece, and also serve as a physical depiction of the “void” that is promised to us all in death, should we discover God to be merely a delusion of humanity. These pieces are experimentations in the use of Absence, both in the category of art and religion. Examine each of these pieces carefully, and discover how the Truancy transforms the meaning intended by the original masterpiece.