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Art Discussion Group - Malta


Louis Cassar - Spiritual and Poetic

Mood, atmosphere and poetic drama are the essential elements in the expressive language of Louis Cassar, a mature artist of great vigour. His expression reflects his spiritual and poetic character motivated by a tremendous dynamic energy that sweeps everything in its path. Such energy is comparable to water and fire in their elemental destructive and creative energies, an apparent contradiction that man in his simplicity mistakes for absurdity.

This energy is expressed through the intensity of his frenetic brush strokes and his use of brilliant and blinding light. He exploits a spectrum of contrasts to achieve an infinite gamut of moods and atmosphere probably inspired by the figurative and physical Constable and the abstract and spiritual Turner. Louis is a romantic artist and not only deifies nature but regards it as his master, mentor and friend. Nature inspires the man and his fiery breath is derived from Nature’s grandeur.

A rough, stormy sea is a recurrent subject in the artist’s repertoire. Perhaps it is a preferred subject as it gives him the possibility to imbue into its engulfing force his own fiery and tormented character, his thirst for justice and equity, his burning spirituality and his intense love for his Creator. Probably the sea is for the artist not only a reflection of his being but also an analogy for human nature. He seems in synch with it and probably regards it as the divine struggle in life, an endless one. The tremendous strength of the waves as they hurl themselves on the rocks is analogous to the dynamic force of his emotions and feelings, a character burning and intense but concurrently gentle and compassionate instead of devastating, that cleans and cleanses and not destroys, that saves and redeems from damnation and despair. ‘Turbulent Waters’ is a rough sea with engulfing waves that surpasses all natural or human resistance and perseverance while ‘Rough Seas’ with its white foamy crests suggests hope in a redeeming moment, saved from drowning and despair.

The artist treats a sunset and a sunrise with the same intensity he treats the sea. These subjects become pure poetry with his brush and the lyrical quality of his skies reach epic heights. A wreck in the distance, rainy clouds on the horizon, sun’s rays passing through clouds or the red disc of a glowing sun become through his language therapy for the heart and mind. In a special landscape with a solitary tree Louis captures the droplets of moisture in a slightly overcast sky that threatens rain but at the same time suggests a poetic atmosphere of great beauty.

As a portrait painter the artist has few rivals as with fantasy and imagination he creates individuals rather than types without referring to models. His ability to create facial features or physiognomy to suggest character and mood makes him a master of psychic identity rather than figurative cognition. Perhaps ‘Charlotte’ is one of his achievements set in a wonderful light that blinds, probably inspired by the impressionist intensity of a Turner or Monet. For him light is spirituality, is the breath of life, life itself.

In ‘St Peter’, a self-portrait, the artist takes an objective and penetrating look at himself capturing in his eyes the tormented divine struggle for justice or perhaps a glimmer of hope for salvation from a troubled sea that threatens his own existence or rather the whole cosmos. His weather beaten-face shows the suffering and pain of a hero wearing the sandals of a common man, facing the vicissitudes of life while carrying his cross, a universal responsibility for us all. ‘The Prophet’ demonstrates the influence of the masters through discipline and study.

Louis in his humility and deep spirituality has waited with patience backed by hard work and academic study, through experimentation is inspired by fantasy and imagination - the moment of truth: the recognition of his talents. His enthusiasm and perseverance never failed him. His versatility in his choice of subject: landscape and seascape, sunset and sunrise, portraiture, sacred art, still life and the interpretation of the masters demonstrates his ability and talent. His love of classical music underscores the lyrical poetry in his vision and concept.

E. V. Borg

14. 09. 2014


Louis Cassar (b.1944) was born in B’Kara to Vincent and Flora née Cauchi but lived all his live in Valletta. His father was the Assistant Director of Lotto yet known for his great love of Latin. Louis was by profession an accountant but is now retired and enjoys painting in his large studio in Valletta. He studied art between 1959-61 at the Government school of Art at the Auberge d’Italie in Merchants Street Valletta under George Borg and Vincent Apap. His favourite artists are:   Richard Parkes Bonnington, Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, Pablo Picasso especially his Blue Period (1901-1904) and Rembrandt.