Ross Kolby

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The Fifth Commandment

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Size: 140 x 104 cm Size: 140 x 104 cm
Oil on canvas, 140 x 104 cm. 1998.


This emotional self-portrait deals with an agonising occurrence in the artist’s life. About to exhibit the monumental "The murder of Pope John Paul I" in 1998, Kolby was anonymously threatened on his life on telephone. The callers had read an newspaper article about Kolby and the painting, and promised to end his life if he exhibited it as planned.


The Oslo police warned Kolby they could not provide any kind of security, and suggested he left town while they investigated the case. Due to digital telephone centrals in Oslo, the callers were arrested and appeared to be five deeply devoted catholic men. Upon this Kolby then returned to Oslo to exhibit the painting.


He depicts himself squeezed in a crevice and facing the rising water, fighting to release himself from the overwhelming surroundings. The intense silence in the motive is underlined by the threatening title, which is the 5th commandment "Thau shall not kill". A commandment the catholic callers seemed to have forgotten.



























Ross Kolby

«Painting, writing or acting are like colours on my palette. I mix them and make use of the crafts to create living, breathing, believable characters - people that I feel inside me»

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Literary paintings

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