Following the unexpected loss of Thomas Kinkade, a number of rumors spread suggesting that alcohol may have been involved in the painter's untimely death. Now some are criticizing the morals of a painter that often considered himself an evangelical Christian.
Thomas Kinkade became famous for creating paintings that appeared as though light was shining through them, eventually trade marking himself as "the painter of light." Kinkade also considered himself an evangelical Christian and included the Christian symbol of a fish above the signature of all of his paintings.
The painter passed away last Friday and while the official cause of his death is unknown, family members initially stated that he died of natural causes. An autopsy was ordered Monday to confirm the official cause, but results from the test may remain unknown for weeks.
In 2006, Kinkade was accused of cheating other gallery owners in order to increase his own wealth. The Los Angeles Times also reported other incidents that Kinkade had been accused of while drunk:
"[Gallery owners] and others also described incidents in which an allegedly drunken Kinkade heckled illusionists Siegfried and Roy; cursed a former employee's wife who came to his side when he fell off a barstool; fondled a startled woman's breasts at a signing party; and urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim," the publication stated.
Now following the painters death, a new report has surfaced that Kinkade had been drinking the night before his passing.
The new rumors have sparked controversy among those in the Christian world who admonished his drunken behavior after the painter had openly referred to himself as Christian.
In a 2001 Christianity Today piece, Randall Balmer described Kinkade's paintings as a far cry from what the reality of his life appeared to be.
Kinkade's work "offers an oasis, a retreat from the assaults of modern life, a vision of a more perfect world. Who wouldn't like to catch a glimpse of that world from time to time, to picture life before the Fall?" Balmer wrote, referring to act of Eden.
Religion Dispatched revealed that while Kinkade was well loved, others pointed to the hypocrisy of his work.
"Liberals scoffed at the hypocrisy of yet another social-religious conservative who can't live up to a decent set of moral standards, while his mass-produced images were hugely loved, especially by evangelical Christians who felt that here, finally, was an artist for them," the Dispatched wrote.
However, Kinkade appeared to have lived a more righteous exitence for most of his life before having faced financial difficulty and harsh criticism. Kinkade contributed to many charitable causes during the peak of his career, including helping the Salvation Army after the 9/11 attacks and serving as a spokesperson for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Kikade's brother stated that part of the painters downfall came as a result of harsh critics.
"As much as he said it didn't bother him, in his heart deep down inside it would sadden him that people would criticize so hatefully his work and his vision when people didn't understand him," Patrick Kinkade told Mercury New.