Cedrus Amplexu by Tricia Ratliff recently sold

Some paintings are a simple reflection of beautiful moments in life ... while others carry a deeper meaning. My painting called "Cedrus Amplexu", meaning "Cedar's Embrace" is one of those paintings with hidden meaning. This seems like a good time to share the story of this artwork because it was recently purchased by a collector from Ventana Fine Art in Santa Fe New Mexico.

I miss it already.

We had a warm fall, winter, and spring this year so I enjoyed walking my son to school and pondering life on the walk home before working in the studio each day. One morning, I was looking forward to painting this fabulous antique pot from Germany. It is believed to be 200-250 years old so I wanted to say something about the beauty of it's age. During my morning stroll, I noticed a damaged Juniper branch among a series of large healthy Juniper trees by a local church. Given the symbolism of Juniper, I took a clipping and dreamt about how I'd create the setup along the way. The cool blue berries and warm greens were perfect with the warm tones in the vessel.

The Juniper here represents fresh, young life and protection. Juxtaposed with the old crock, I consider this a subtle reminder for the young to protect and cherish for the old for many reasons; not the least of which is that they are the vessels of family history and collected wisdom that can be gained only through experience. It seemed fitting to paint it using the teachnigues of the old masters. During the Renaissance, Juniper represented not only youth but also purity and protection. I became interested in the meaning of Juniper upon seeing a portrait of Ginevra De' Benci by Leonardo Da Vinci in the National Gallery (Washington DC). Later research revealed that at Christmas, the Juniper branches used in advent wreaths (around the candles) represent the protection of Jesus, Mary and Joseph during their flight to Egypt from Harod in Bethlehem. Notice the series of triangles crossing over each other. The base of the larger Juniper branch is pointing upward and backward while it's newest leaves and berries point slightly forward into the future.

(Here is the Da Vinci painting with Juniper trees in the distant background) 

I enjoyed "Cedrus Amplexu" in our dining room for a few months before we were ready to let it go to be exhibited. Now, it's good to know it will be cherished by someone new. On to the next painting

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