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Toy Glory: Robert X Burden’s Epic Paintings

Robert X Burden The Holy Batman

In 2015, the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Los Angeles hosted a collection of paintings that give a Renaissance grandeur to the action figures and toys many of us grew up with. The show, called “Original Myth,” collected the epic canvases of Robert X. Burden, an artist who has spent years creating meticulously-composed paintings that imagine, for instance, the Star Wars figures by Kenner and Hasbro as Michelangelo might have rendered them on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

The 20th Century Space Opera by Robert Xavier Burden
The 20th Century Space Opera by Robert Xavier Burden

These are some seriously huge paintings. “20th Century Space Opera,” the Star Wars extravaganza that gives even Dengar and Bossk due props, measures 15 feet wide and 8 feet tall. “The Holy Batman,” which depicts nearly 75 Batman figurines, measures 12′ x 7′.

Here’s how the show was described on the Gregorio Escalante site:

Original Myth is a reinvention of contemporary culture produced in a postwar era. Mass produced, packaged, and sold in bulk, Burden asks us to question whether or not originality is still a concept that we can grapple with and utilize in our present day cultural landscape. … His technique harkens back to the techniques of master painters, utilizing intricate time-consuming details, chiaroscuro, and countless hours invested into painting on a large scale.

The Holy Batman by Robert Xavier Burden
The Holy Batman by Robert Xavier Burden

To see more of Robert X. Burden’s work, visit RobertBurden.net and be sure to follow his official Instagram, @rxburden.

Made in Japan by Robert Xavier Burden
Made in Japan by Robert Xavier Burden
Dinosaurs by Robert Xavier Burden
Dinosaurs by Robert Xavier Burden
Mattel's Battle Cat (Masters of the Universe, 1982) by Robert Xavier Burden
Mattel’s Battle Cat (Masters of the Universe, 1982) by Robert Xavier Burden
Thundera by Robert Xavier Burden
Thundera by Robert Xavier Burden
Playmates' Foot Soldier (TMNT, 1988) by Robert Xavier Burden
Playmates’ Foot Soldier (TMNT, 1988) by Robert Xavier Burden
Flight by Robert Xavier Burden
Flight by Robert Xavier Burden

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