Influential Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum began to paint figurative, Neo-Classical works inspired by the Renaissance in the late 1970s — a period when abstract, conceptual art was en vogue. Openly embracing kitsch, his early work was waged as a criticism against the contemporary art status quo as well as an homage to the old masters. Over the years, Nerdrum has been a mentor to many contemporary artists as narrative-based, figurative painting has risen in prominence once again. He and his three students, Luke Hillestad, David Molesky and Caleb Knodell, will be exhibiting together at Copro Gallery in Los Angeles for “Pupils of Apelles,” opening on November 15.
Apelles was an ancient painter and the official portrait artist of Alexander the Great. While many have compared Nerdrum to the Renaissance masters, artists like Rembrandt and Botticelli considered themselves disciples of Apelles. For “Pupils of Apelles,” Nerdrum, Hillestad, Molesky and Knodell posit themselves on the continuum of tradition, presenting their individual interpretations of a timeworn genre. Take a look at Nerdrum’s new works below.