The painting draws upon Gokalp’s earlier years, which featured a focus on classical training. To symbolise the significance of this time in his life and his enduring idolisation of Caravaggio, Gokalp even has The Entombment of Christ tattooed on his arm. However, Gokalp’s rendition is not just a replica or a copy, it is a referral to today’s art-scene and a criticism of all the artists, including Gokalp himself, on how much really is sacrificed…
The model being worshipped in this painting by a collection of renowned figurative artists has no name, as sacrifice is nameless. While some artists fear the death of the model in the composition, one is only concerned with her modern day narcissism. The true figure with true sadness is the mother, or from a Caravaggio-point-of-view Virgin/Holy Mary, embodied by the artist’s wife in Gokalp’s painting. Perhaps this is a tribute to her wife, as only she knows the true extent of the dedication, precision, perfection and ultimately sacrifice that the work of an artist like Gokalp requires. .
With ‘The Sacrifice of the Model’, Gokalp is seeking the viewer’s attention to look behind the canvas, to think about all the models, artists, artist’s wives, all who sacrificed sometimes an ear [Van Gogh], vision [Monet], or the ability to hear [Beethoven] for the sake of art and recognition. Clearly, art is dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty, beyond what can be valued, rich or rare, no less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour*...
*Section taken from Shakespeare’s King Lear
The Sacrifice of the Model by Mertim Gokalp - Doug Moran Portrait Prize Finalist 2016
Oil on Linen | 200 x 150 cm
Featuring: Project  artists Nick Stathopoulos, Marcus Callum, Kathrin Longhurst,
Lucy West-Sooby, a 'no name' model (Aimee Fitzgerald) & Mertim's wife (Melodi Gokalp).
The Sacrifice of the Model on Media:
SBS Evening news on June, 22nd & Online
Channel 9 Evening news June 22nd