“I saw an exhibition at the British Museum about manuscript illustrations from Persia around the time I did this painting and I think it shows; I can’t remember which one, I have seen a few over the years. The first one was when I did my degree and a teacher urged me to go and see the show at the V&A Museum about the Book of Hamza, which was very good. The painting also reveals my interest in medieval icon painting. The title suggests a kind of posing. Clothes (and costumes and armour etc.) express identity, social belonging, cultural relationships and financial status and I have always been more interested in these cultural signifiers than skin. He looks a bit puzzled though, our divine impostor. I like how the character almost disappears in the bottom – and the legs.”

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