Thursday, June 07, 2018

Venerable Matt Talbot

Man on a Bridge
(Matt Talbot on Newcomen Bridge)
T. Nelson

Today is the anniversary of Matt's death.  It was Trinity Sunday, June 7, 1925.

The painting shown above is my attempt at depicting Matt Talbot in the moment of his conversion.  I imagine him here as he crossed Newcomen Bridge, after his friends ignored him.  Knowing he was probably broke, they avoided him and did not offer to buy him drink.  Though we don't know what happened on the bridge to give him the resolve to take the pledge, the bridge is a sort of metaphor of conversion, crossing over from one sort of life to another.  I imagine the 28 year old Matt Talbot as a young man, in a very private moment - looking at a crumpled piece of paper - perhaps it's a prayer, a scripture verse, or even a sort of printed notice encouraging pub patrons to take the pledge and join the Total Abstinence League?  In any case, it signifies his call to conversion.

The painting is still on the easel.

I asked him for a model and I searched Google for an "Irish lad".  Surprisingly an actor showed up and the thought came to mind as if Matt said, 'this could be me'.  I did my best to change the expression from the photo I used, but I wasn't very successful.  Perhaps one day I can try again.


  1. I like this painting. Thank you.

  2. That's beautiful, Terry.

    1. Thanks much - as I told someone on Facebook, the 'model' is much too identifiable to pass off as Matt. It's like Jim Caviezel's Christ - people recognize when artists paint him as Jesus based upon his film portrayal. In this case I pretty much repeated the same style of clothing Ryan Gosling's character wore as well. I modified some facial features, but to me it only looks like a bad rendering of the film character. Like I mentioned to you, since his character is 'replicate' I thought I could base my image on his look and get away with it. I need to do another one if and when I get another inspiration and a chance to do so.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.