Jim Dine (b 1935) is a well-known American ‘Pop’ artist (painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performance artist, stage designer, and poet) of the twentieth century. ‘Pop Art’ is a form of ‘Contemporary Art’ that derives its ideas from commonplace to unique materialistic objects, such as packaging of products, advertisements, comic strips, and photographs of celebrities. Dine has repeatedly used ordinary and familiar objects of personal significance in his paintings. These objects usually are bathrobes, hearts, birds, flowers, hands, or tools. The painter depicts his popular ‘heart’ in his most famous painting, “The Study for This Sovereign life” too, which gained fame as his best creation of all time.
“The Study for This Sovereign life,” measuring 48″ X 73″, is a work of oil and sand on canvas, and was created in the year 1985. The diptych has a blue background and a rope like string divides it into two sections. On the left side is a deadly skull, and on the right side is a bright red heart. In spite of its depiction of the abominable skull, “The Study for This Sovereign life” is passionately filled with brilliant colors. A splendid contrast is created, as the blood red hue is set against radiant blue color. The painting takes on a dazzling sheen, as a tinge of striking orange and green shades are added to it.
Despite being known as a successful ‘Pop’ artist by the world, Jim Dine often deviates from the insipidness and the inexpressive nature of popular art. He does this by creating lively paintings that are fused with passion and the common experiences of daily life. He believes that he is too subjective to fall in the genre of ‘Pop Art,’ and that ‘Pop Art’ is a mere facet of his style of painting. According to him, the popular images of daily use are not the subject of his drawings. They are just a part of his landscapes. His real interest lies in creating personal images, such as paintings depicting his own palette and brush, his studio, his experiences as a painter, his other paintings , color charts etc. In short, he is fond of portraying simple objects from his own life in his work. His paintings such as “The Study for This Sovereign life” are therefore a mode of personal expression.
Dine’s work has been highly appreciated and admired in many parts of the world. Apart from the United States, his pictures and sculptures have found a place in various museums across Europe. The great amount of recognition received by “The Study for This Sovereign life” has made it a masterpiece of historical significance.