Very pleased to be a finalist in this year's EMSLA, for the 6th consecutive year. As with each year, I'm surrounded by such august company: Louise Feneley, Robert Fenton, Julie Keating, the jaw dropping Angus McDonald (as he is officially known), Julian Meagher, Deb Mostert and Craig Waddell - and many more.
The show is on at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, and begins Friday 6 November 2015
About the painting: You would think that being a fraudster, forger and occultist during the height of the Inquisition would be enough to earn the ire of the Pope.
One of the great grifters, Giuseppe Balsamo wove tales of buried treasure, sold fake “Egyptian” amulets, forged documents, pimped his wife, and despite no having qualifications successfully passed himself off as a physician - to none other than Benjamin Franklin during his Paris sojourn. But none of these were the reason Balsamo (now self styled as Count Alessandro di Cagliostro) was arrested and imprisoned in the infamous Castel Sant’Angelo.
Balsamo’s great crime was being a Freemason. In the 18th century Freemasonry offered an alternative network to that of the church. Like any good business leader, the Pope determined to limit the competition by cracking down. Balsamo he died in prison, demonstrating the hefty price that accompanies some club memberships.