Referencing gold-leafed Byzantine iconography and the religious paintings of the Sienese School, these portraits point towards the power and wonder of beauty. It is in beauty that life finds value and by extension, bliss. Those depicted are my friends and acquaintances, they inspire me with their compassion and the love that they share with me and others around us. I feel, in attempting to create a better world, beauty must be both an unending refuge from, and a sword in combat against, the ugliness of this world. These are my gilded portraits empowering me in this struggle.