(ANS – Alicante, Spain – May 13, 2020) – During these weeks of isolation, it has often been said that this is a good time to resume some abandoned activity or to finish some pending task. David Pastor Corbí, an artist from Alicante, says he has recently created a work he has had in mind for 20 years: a portrait of Don Bosco at the window of his room in Valdocco.
The history of this portrait goes back to the last century. “In 1999 I painted a mural large enough for the shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Alcoy (Alicante), where I gave plastic arts lessons,” explains the artist. “Fr. Pasqual Lluch, who was then director, told me that the superior of the old province of Valencia, Fr. David Churio, wanted me to paint a Don Bosco when I’d have the time.”
“I’ve thought about it a long time, and I decided to represent Don Bosco in his room, looking outside Valdocco through the windows with their picturesque and characteristic green painted shutters,” continues Mr. Pastor. “I decided that they would be made as if they’d never been closed, and being always open made them seem very damaged by the inclement weather.” And here is one of the details that would end up being one of the painting’s most symbolic.
David Pastor’s work gathers Don Bosco’s pedagogical model in a few, but meaningful details. “I wanted to represent him surrounded by books, which symbolized the intellectual task, education as the foundation of the formation of the Oratory’s youths,” he explains. “The other tools present refer to manual work and vocational training. I also wanted to talk about those juggler balls he holds in his hand, which refer to entertainment, fun, and games, which are always related to Salesian, social, and integrative work,” says the painter.
Furthermore, Don Bosco’s expression shows a life given by young people: “That look of Don Bosco was what I wanted to convey, through one of the photographic portraits that are preserved of the Saint. It’s an expert’s gaze, intense for the hard work done and for what there is still to be done; there’s so much strength, despite the years that weigh it down,” he adds.
The last creative phase of the work coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic. For this reason, the artist wanted to give it a new meaning. “When the moment of confinement due to Covid-19 arrived, that green shutter changed its symbolism; it became a point of hope and confidence in the future, while books, balls, and tools became a model of behavior.”