Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Temptation of Christ

Title: Temptation of Christ

Artist: Ary Scheffer

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 345 x 241 cm

Date: 1859

Location: Musee du Louvre, Paris.

As recorded in the Gospel of Luke 4:5-8 “Then the devil took Jesus and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant. The devil said to Jesus, ‘I will give you all these kingdoms and all their power and glory. It has all been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish. If you worship me, then it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered, "It is written in the Scriptures: 'You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.' "

Ordered for the gallery of Luxembourg in 1849, started before 1851 and not yet delivered by 1858, this large canvas occupied the ten last years of the life of Scheffer. He made many adjustments in size and scale to this composition, with exception of the face of Christ. Scheffer’s Christ is confident and regal in his bearing, lording above the devil who, despite his slight resemblance to an angel, scampers about his feet; a decidedly different interpretation of Christ than the social realism of other late 19th century artists like Kramskoi and Ge.

Ary Scheffer (10 February 1795 - 15 June 1858), French painter of Dutch extraction, was born at Dort on the 10th of February 1795. After the early death of his father, a poor painter, Ary was taken to Paris and placed in the studio of Guérin by his mother, a woman of great energy and character. He was active for almost all his career in Paris, and his work became quite popular in his lifetime, but is now often considered sentimental. After 1846, he ceased to exhibit. His strong ties with the royal family caused him to fall out of favor when, in 1848, the Second Republic came into being. Shut up in his studio, he produced many paintings that were only exhibited after his death.

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