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Kinkade, 'Painter of Light,' In Legal Trouble

'Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love' by Thomas Kinkade. i i

hide captionBeauty and the Beast Falling in Love is a 2010 painting from Kinkade's Disney Dreams Collection. He says in his paintings for Disney, he has "attempted to portray a panorama of the entire movie, rather than an individual scene."

Thomas Kinkade
'Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love' by Thomas Kinkade.

Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love is a 2010 painting from Kinkade's Disney Dreams Collection. He says in his paintings for Disney, he has "attempted to portray a panorama of the entire movie, rather than an individual scene."

Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade is in some real trouble. Alex Schmidt of member station WHYY reports for Morning Edition that Kinkade is working through bankruptcy and facing drunken driving charges in California. The self-described 'Painter of Light' views himself as a Christian evangelical:

Thomas Kinkade in a booking photograph from the Monterey County, Calif. Sheriff's Department.

hide captionThomas Kinkade in a booking photograph.

Anonymous/Monterey County Sheriff's Department

Kinkade has said the light that streams through his paintings is the light of Jesus. But some of his gallery owners have accused the artist of using shared Christian values to defraud them. They say he persuaded them to open galleries in areas that couldn't support them — and then competitively undervalued his own paintings.

They sued and won $3 million — which they can't yet collect, because Kinkade entered bankruptcy protection in June, the same month he was pulled over and charged with DUI. It's estimated a piece of Kinkade's work is in one of every 20 American homes. Is he really that good?

Well over a year ago, Joe Carter, at First Things's religion/public policy blog asked this question: how did Christian art go from Rembrandt to Kinkade?

“Suppose you had never heard of Kincaid and you saw one of his paintings in a respectable art gallery,” responded my friend Steve. “Suppose you found out that Kincaid cut off his ear and died a long time ago without any money. Can you say with certainty that your opinion of his aesthetics would be the same?”

The full post is a compelling read: Joe reviews several of Kinkade's works and compares him with other artists, deciding ruefully, 'He is both a creator of some of the most inspiring paintings of the past two decades and a producer of some of the worst schlock ever manufactured by a talented artist.'

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