Here is how I would describe this painting, which was shown to me by the artist on several occasions— The painting ascends by levels from the deepest unconscious at the bottom, to the world of time and place at the top. In the very center, in a semi circle, is a depiction of the artist’s own marriage. In the semi circle to the left is the marriage of the artist’s mother and father; In the semi circle to the left is the marriage of his wife’s mother and father. Over each couple is a ring. Below this level , seeming to be behind bars or windows, are depicted ancestors of each family line. Linking this to the bottom section is a double pyramid – the alchemical symbol of the meeting of the masculine and feminine trinities. Below this is a heart that contains the same double pyramid, and depicted there is the artist as boy, and the first girl in school who inspired his devotion. On the left and right of the childhood scene are shadow figures of the primitive masculine and feminine, who await transformation. At the very top is a scene that I believe is the city where the artist and his wife met or were married. In the sky above is the face of an angel descending in a cloud.
I know that Ken Frantz believed, as did Carl Jung, that a marriage constitutes a powerful meeting of two ancestral lines. Marriage is also an archetype that involves other archetypes, he believed. It’s sacred goal is transformation – the making of something new out of two things that meet and are transformed. The archetypes that affect marriages are often embodied in childhood experience and memory.
Technically this painting shows Frantz’s interest in geometry and the correlation of shapes and colors. The diamonds, or double triangles, define the center vertical line. The circular “frame” of the painting harmonizes with the circular heads, the rings, and the semi circles. The horizontal space is defined by two horizons and strong dividing horizontal lines. The section of rectangular frames of windows contrasts with the circles and relates to the diamonds on the vertical center line.
Red is used sparingly to highlight the women and anything suggestive of love. This seems to be the influence of Corot, who often only used one spot of red to highlight a focal point of his paintings. (This fact was pointed out to me by Ken.)
Marriage was an extremely important subject for Kenneth Frantz -as it was for Marc Chagall, who depicted his own marriage many times.