Saint Robin Of Gotham: An Art Critique

The painting that is the subject of today’s art critique came to me from my brother. He got a photo of it from someone else, who must have gotten it from someone else. At the very start of that chain of people is, I presume, the artist that painted it.

I am at the opposite end of that chain. I can’t see the end where the artist is, so I don’t know who to give credit for this work. This is a sorrowful thing because I love this painting and want to give the artist credit for its awesomeness. Yes, awesomeness. This is the first recorded instance of me referring to anything possessing awesomeness. This painting is that good.


Behold the awesomeness:

(if you're the artist, please help me credit you)

Yeah, I Know


Let’s examine this work, starting with Batman. The Caped Crusader is in an inferior position to his side kick and he is not happy with this development. His arms urge Robin to descend to what Batman feels is his rightful place, subservient to him.

Batman seems to be speaking with Robin as an equal to get him to do what he wants him to, but the look in his eyes tells a story of anger and resentment. He is frustrated that Robin is rising above the boundaries that have constrained him all these years. This is the moment where Batman realizes that the person at the top doesn’t accomplish anything without the support of those who, in his mind, are beneath him.

I think we all know someone who needs to have this sort of “Batman moment”. A manager is nothing without those who are managed. Perhaps this moment will change Batman for the better. If that is so, there is hope for us all.

And What Of The Boy Wonder?

The artist has chosen to portray Robin without shoes. This is an unusual decision. A superhero needs some foot gear. This can only be symbolic of Batman’s ability to keep Robin down for so long. How far could The Boy Wonder go unshod?

And what of the halo? I see it as emblematic of the purifying effect of work. Or maybe it’s just the sun coming up behind his head.

More significant than the halo is the fact that Robin is wearing a toga. In ancient Rome, the toga was the dress of the aristocracy, of free citizens. The oppressed masses wore tunics. By adding the toga to his usual uniform, Robin establishes that he feels he is an equal to Batman. I believe he and the artist are right.

The message of the painting is clear. Robin says to Batman just what we all think of our bosses – “you are a success, but you are so at the cost of my blood, sweat and tears”. Robin embodies the triumph of the working man. He has seized power, symbolized by him holding aloft a Batarang taken from the Caped Crusader.

An Open Question

With his new found power, will he be able to forge a more effective partnership with Batman? Or will his new status cause him to make rash decisions?

Power shifts lead those involved to a cross roads. Will they take the opportunity to find the best path to move their partnership forward? The artist leaves us with an open, yet hopeful question on the matter. I choose to believe that these gentlemen have what it takes to pull in the same direction once again.

Or something like that.


26 Comments on “Saint Robin Of Gotham: An Art Critique”

  1. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    Batman has… toes?

  2. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    In spite of its artistic skill and rendering, I find this painting disturbing. It seems to be speaking about the conflict between religion and fantasy. Many atheists I know believe they are one in the same. The conversations between opposing camps are very strident with lots of angry looks. Batman, the atheist, is trying to get Robin, the religious partner, to see the folly in his thinking.

    Besides all that, Batman’s arms are way too short for his body. I don’t know how you can be a superhero with dysfunctionally short arms.

    Thank you, Oma. I was hoping there’d be another critique soon.

    • omawarisan says:

      Or does the combination of Batman’s cape being blown into the shape of angel’s wings and the hornlike shape of the ear on his mask mean that he is the devil?

      Dysfunctionally short arms…bad for superheros and dinosaurs.

      I like the art critiques. I’m on the look out for new critique subjects all the time now.

  3. shoutabyss says:

    My interpretation is that Robin simply wants a Scooby Snack and Batman is saying, “I can’t make Scooby Snacks out of thin air!” But hey, to each their own. That’s the great mystery of art.

    I want you to accompany me to a museum. When I view of painting of a topless woman who is near a table containing a pitcher of water, I’ll no doubt say something eloquent like, “The water is for cooling down her hawtness.” That’s when you’ll step in to provide the deeper meaning and take things to a whole new level. I’m in awe of your observational skills.

    I also note with some interest that the sky is blue yet becomes enriched with colorful clouds the lower it gets. What are they over or under? Should I wonder about the Boy Wonder? Is this some kind of fateful blunder? Let no one put these heroes asunder.

    Find out next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel.

  4. Debbie says:

    Sorry, but I’m not fond of this painting. Looks like Batman is the Devil, tempting Robin (Jesus) after 40 days fasting in the desert. I can almost hear him saying, Throw yourself down; I’ll catch you; and Robin replying, Get behind me, you Satan! Something almost sacrilegious about this, but maybe the artist is trying to update the story for today’s generation?

  5. If you were the artist, would you claim credit?

    Your open question(s) got me to wondering if maybe Robin wouldn’t be better off getting a pony and a boat and taking a page out of Tonto’s book.

  6. Laura says:

    That’s an interesting interpretation, but I’m pretty sure that Robin is the Statue of Liberty, and Batman is saying “hey, you dropped your tablet — it’s down there”.

  7. I agree with Debbie–I think there is a classic painting about that Bible story of the temptation of Christ (you know, ‘get thee behind me, Satan.’)

    So having said that, I think that this painting is a rich exploration of the undercurrent of subtextual homosexuality in the whole Batman/Robin thing. They don’t call them the Dynamic Duo for nothing. Clearly, Robin has lost his tights and is wrapping himself in a robe for modesty. Batman is pleading with him to give it a try Batman’s robe looks like devil wings showing that he is attempting to lead Robin from the path of crime fighting to the down low. Holy kneepads, Batman!

  8. Lenore Diane says:

    Like Debbie and Thomas said, this is clearly mocking the bible story of the temptation of Jesus. But, as I mentioned after Snoring’s comment – the atheist/non-atheist take is interesting.

    I may prefer Michellin’s brother to this one. (Never thought I’d say that. Ever.)

    • omawarisan says:

      I’m beginning to realize that’s probably the intent, unless it is the working man thing.

      You know there’s a Michelin plant north of you in Greenville, right?

      • Lenore Diane says:

        Yes. There’s a nice BMW plant in that general vicinity, give or take 100 miles. AND, a large peach water tower. Oh the number of times I have traveled 85-N through SC….

        Holy road trip, Batman! That last step is a doozie!

  9. Blogdramedy says:

    Does this make Batwoman a virgin, I wonder?

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  11. LOL – I don’t know which is more awesome – this picture or your critque. Both just effing outstanding!! (if I still worked out of an office, I’d frame it and hang it on my door)

  12. Your critique was surprisingly amusing yet, so deep? It did make me laugh, while i appreciated the thought you put into it.

    Lets face it – Robin was always sexier than batman anyway.

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