Old Masters/New Visions

As a portrait painter, Cole has always been fascinated by the human figure, in general, and the face, in particular. In studying how others represented the figure, Cole encountered artists who devoted much attention to presenting the dignity and nobility of humanity. Rembrandt and Vermeer, in particular, have impressed Cole with their depictions of the human form and their ability to visually capture a split-second moment in a way that conveys more about the character, mood, and feeling—of both the subject and the artist—than words ever could.

In 1991, Cole began a series of drawings based on Old Master paintings and drawings. Inspired by the subject matter, composition, artist techniques, and resulting creations, Cole would reproduce elements of these works, altering the original’s size, media, and context. Although most of the pieces in this series are carbon drawings with mixed media collages, later additions recreated components of these artists’ work in pastel and charcoal.

Collectively, these works became the “Old Masters/New Visions” series, encouraging new ways for viewers to see and connect with familiar masterpieces in art.

“These pieces are a tribute to the artists, musicians, writers, and philosophers who have inspired my own work.”

Representative works from this series are below. To view an excerpt of an interview in which Cole discusses the “Old Masters/New Visions” series, click here.