A7. The School of Northside
© 2008 by Maurice Mattei
The School Of Northside is a concept for a proposed mural that will never be painted on the
East side wall of the Chas. A. Miller & Sons Funeral Home in the community of Northside here in
Cincinnati, Ohio (sadly, the two trees that are now in front of the structure would need to be
sacrificed in order to create an unobstructed view; an unlikely scenario in the age of GREEN). The
imagery is loosely based on several works of art. The first among these is Rembrandt's
of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem Van Ruytenburch aka Night Watch. A
second source was Raphael
Sanzio's The School
of Athens. Along with these two well-known paintings I drew heavily on the styles of
artists that shall remain nameless since it doesn't really matter a great deal to anyone who
Thematically, the drawing continues what was begun with the illustration I did for the cover of
last year's The Tempers Perform The Best Of Maurice Mattei Vol. 3 CD. Both works are
comprised (composed?) of 13 figures, one figure of which dominates the canvas. In the first work
the focus was on the large she-wolf. In the drawing above the apex of attention is the robust
bearded gentleman in the center of the composition. He is the de-facto Christhead; the twelve
remaining figures becoming his distracted, disheveled apostles. As an aside, the she-wolf of the
first drawing was the Christ, thereby uniting both the Christian and Pagan traditions of Western
Culture's glorious past.
Northside is a wonderful community filled with colorful, artistic people and I have attempted to
render these aspiring Mensheviks and Womensheviks in a manner commensurate with their astounding
lifestyles. No one portrayed here is meant to be any one specific individual. Rather, they are
composites of many different people; the musician, the fry cook, the vegan, the failed writer, the
young single mother with her precocious daughter, the struggling small business owner, the
unrepentant car thief and his record-collecting sidekick.
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