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Frans Smit

South African, 1976


Frans Smit is a South African born artist whose works have been part of over 50 exhibitions locally and internationally.

Reimagining old masters’ paintings into contemporary artworks is the centre around which Frans Smit’s creative process revolves. A hybrid of current and past art movements give way to a new visual language, evident in his latest body of work.

Reaching into the past, Frans Smit derives inspiration from 13th–17th-century European portraits, biblical scenes and still life.

Smit demonstrates his skill as a fine art photographer by invoking thoughts of still life paintings by old Dutch Masters. Emulating their use of dramatic lighting; dark backgrounds give way to luminescent floral arrangements. Also characteristic of this period is the extensive positive space where flowers and foliage take up much of the image and are captured in great detail.

On canvas, the artist wields a wide range of contemporary mediums and practices that are carefully brought into balance with highly orthodox and classical approaches to painting. Famous and lesser-known masterpieces by Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent, Van Eyck, Velazquez and others are given new life and meaning.

Realistically rendered segments reference the originating images and convey a sense of logical perspective. They serve as an anchor from which Smit experiments with graffiti, motion painting, abstraction and a variety of new modern materials including metallic and neon paints.


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