Saint Robin Of Gotham: An Art CritiquePosted: March 19, 2012
The painting that is the subject of today’s art critique came to me from my brother. He got a photo of it from someone else, who must have gotten it from someone else. At the very start of that chain of people is, I presume, the artist that painted it.
I am at the opposite end of that chain. I can’t see the end where the artist is, so I don’t know who to give credit for this work. This is a sorrowful thing because I love this painting and want to give the artist credit for its awesomeness. Yes, awesomeness. This is the first recorded instance of me referring to anything possessing awesomeness. This painting is that good.
Behold the awesomeness:
Yeah, I Know
Let’s examine this work, starting with Batman. The Caped Crusader is in an inferior position to his side kick and he is not happy with this development. His arms urge Robin to descend to what Batman feels is his rightful place, subservient to him.
Batman seems to be speaking with Robin as an equal to get him to do what he wants him to, but the look in his eyes tells a story of anger and resentment. He is frustrated that Robin is rising above the boundaries that have constrained him all these years. This is the moment where Batman realizes that the person at the top doesn’t accomplish anything without the support of those who, in his mind, are beneath him.
I think we all know someone who needs to have this sort of “Batman moment”. A manager is nothing without those who are managed. Perhaps this moment will change Batman for the better. If that is so, there is hope for us all.
And What Of The Boy Wonder?
The artist has chosen to portray Robin without shoes. This is an unusual decision. A superhero needs some foot gear. This can only be symbolic of Batman’s ability to keep Robin down for so long. How far could The Boy Wonder go unshod?
And what of the halo? I see it as emblematic of the purifying effect of work. Or maybe it’s just the sun coming up behind his head.
More significant than the halo is the fact that Robin is wearing a toga. In ancient Rome, the toga was the dress of the aristocracy, of free citizens. The oppressed masses wore tunics. By adding the toga to his usual uniform, Robin establishes that he feels he is an equal to Batman. I believe he and the artist are right.
The message of the painting is clear. Robin says to Batman just what we all think of our bosses – “you are a success, but you are so at the cost of my blood, sweat and tears”. Robin embodies the triumph of the working man. He has seized power, symbolized by him holding aloft a Batarang taken from the Caped Crusader.
An Open Question
With his new found power, will he be able to forge a more effective partnership with Batman? Or will his new status cause him to make rash decisions?
Power shifts lead those involved to a cross roads. Will they take the opportunity to find the best path to move their partnership forward? The artist leaves us with an open, yet hopeful question on the matter. I choose to believe that these gentlemen have what it takes to pull in the same direction once again.
Or something like that.
- Batman and Robin Run Away from Everything in Roberto Salvador’s Animated Gifs (comicsalliance.com)