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Chris Heflin created this version of 'The Transfiguration' after seeing the original by Italian artist Rafael in a museum at the Vatican during a trip to Rome earlier this year. Heflin is a UMW student and Spotsy resident.
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A trip to Rome provided the inspiration for a painting by a University of Mary Washington student that he hopes to display at churches around the area.
Chris Heflin took his "dream trip" to Rome in May. While there, he saw the painting "The Transfiguration" by Italian artist Rafael in the Vatican Museum. Rafael created the masterpiece in 1516.
"I had never heard of the painting before, and I knew I had to paint it," he said.
So Heflin, who has created more than 60 paintings over the past five years, decided to create his version.
The project took him about 130 hours. The painting is 5 feet 4 inches by 8 feet. He first showed it at his church, New Life in Christ, near the Spotsylvania Towne Centre, in early August.
"I would like to have a tour for it at the churches around town," he said.
Heflin, 25, and a senior at UMW, is a physics major. "I would have loved to be a studio art major, but I believe finding a career as a painter would be difficult," he said.
"A starving artist is not for a husband or a man interested in a family," added Heflin, who is married.
Heflin took art classes in Spotsylvania schools, where he had help with drawings. But he did not take classes in painting.
"I regularly talk with the painting professor at UMW, Joseph Di Bella," Heflin noted. "He is a great adviser and inspiration."
Heflin said he paints as much as he can between UMW classes and work. Most of his paintings in the past have been 2 feet by 3 feet, quite a bit smaller than this special work.
He mostly paints for friends and family members, but also often does commissioned work.
Bill Tolbert: 540/374-5408