Wishing Well is Thomas Woodruff’s meditation on the ravages of the AIDS epidemic rendered in the style of an Old Master painting. The initials of the artist’s departed friends are inscribed on the work, which follows the composition of the central panel of the Adoration of the Lamb from the famous Ghent Altarpiece, completed by Hubert and Jan van Eyck in 1432. Echoing the paradisical scene, with its references to the sacrificial lamb of the Crucifixion and the fountain of life, Woodruff places a plentitude of apples, birds, and rabbits around a wishing well. As in the proverb “an apple a day,” the apples suggest the possibility of healing and overcoming the menace of AIDS through hope, joy, and appreciation of the everyday miracles of life. This painting was the central piece of the artist’s exhibition Apple Canon, where it was installed with 365 images of various kinds of apples depicted with the precision of Flemish genre painting.
Acrylic on linen
This item is not on view
Gift of Nick Debs
© Thomas Woodruff
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Thomas Woodruff (American, born 1957). Wishing Well, 1997. Acrylic on linen, 66 x 66 in. (167.6 x 167.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Nick Debs, 2000.53. © Thomas Woodruff
overall, 2000.53_transp4270.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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