American, b. 1945
Pelagos (Thrown Draperies), 1980
Oil on canvas
60 x 78 inches
Signed on verso
David Ligare is a self-described neo-Classicist whose landscapes, still lifes, and historical narratives explore the artist’s quest for unity and order. Eschewing the vast diversity of the contemporary art world, Ligare returned to the Greco-Roman classical past in his art. For the subjects and theories behind his work, Ligare studied Greek philosophers, the work of Nicholas Poussin, and the art and architecture of Quattrocento Florence.
In 1976, Ligare began a series of paintings depicting thrown drapery set against the deep blue Pacific Ocean. Named after Greek islands, the drapery alludes to the classical sculptures draped in fabric that once dominated the landscape of Greece before their eventual decay and ruin. Pelagos depicts a stark white cloth billowed by strong coastal winds. A fragment of bright yellow cloth intersects the white textile and creates an abstracted counterpoint to the composition. Beyond the hovering subjects are the crashing ocean waves, angled at an unusual diagonal viewpoint.