Gay Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Mitcham Immortalized on Canvas
Gay Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Mitcham is now immortalized on canvas thanks to artist Ross Watson. The New Master Painting of Matthew Mitcham Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham) is currently on exhibit at the Australian National Portrait Gallery.
An Australian diver, Mitcham took the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal in the 10m platform, having received the highest single-dive score in Olympic history. Mitcham was one of eleven openly gay athletes at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
“Isn’t it marvelous!” Mitcham said of the Messianic rendering in a statement. “I’m incredibly flattered to have been depicted like this in such a stunning scene.”
Mitcham isn’t Watson’s first gay athlete subject: the Australian painter has also worked with rugby star Ian Roberts, who came out in 1995. "Matthew is a great example of a number of high profile subjects who I've painted, and who are are strong role models for the gay community," Watson said.
In addition to Mitcham, Watson also painted Kylie Minogue's popular backup dancer Marco Da Silva. You can see that painting, plus the nearly nude photos of Mitcham and Da Silva taken in anticipation of the project, on the following pages.