Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Temptation In The Wilderness

Title: The Temptation In The Wilderness

Artist: Briton Riviere

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: tbd

Date: 1898

Location: Guildhall Art Gallery, London.

Matthew 4:1-2: Then Jesus was carried up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted of the devil: and having fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he hungered.

Directly after he was declared to be the Son of God, and the Savior of the world, Jesus was tempted; great privileges, and special tokens of Divine favor, will not secure any from being tempted. Satan aimed in all his temptations to bring Christ to sin against God. The enemy is subtle, spiteful, and very daring; but he can be resisted. It is a comfort to us that Christ, being tempted, found strength, and that the Holy Spirit, witness to our being adopted as children of God, that will answer all the suggestions of the evil spirit.

"The Temptation In the Wilderness" is an example of the artist's technical skill and knowledge, and is also interesting as being the successful outcome of an experiment in color. The painter decided to express the sentiment of his subject almost entirely by means of color, i.e. by the white figure of the Christ against the sunset glow of the sky, both sky and figure being focused by the gloom of the landscape. He made many notes of the color effects derived from the juxtaposition of white and sunset, and found, as he expected and hoped, that the white, in shadow with the cold light of the south-eastern sky, appeared almost as a bright blue against the warm north-western sunset sky. This enabled him to dispense with the conventional nimbus of purely ecclesiastical pictures, and yet achieve an effect of the miraculous by showing, as if by accident, the white evening star, greatly magnified by the composition, just over the head of the Savior.

Briton Riviere (1840-1920) was an Irish artist born in London, England. The son of an artistic father, gave early promise of distinction in the realm of art. At the age of eighteen he exhibited at the Royal Academy, and his pictures became an annual feature at Burlington House after his twenty-sixth year. He was elected an A.R.A. in 1878, and was admitted to full membership in 1881. He is best known as a painter of wild animals, in which field he stands supreme. Even in this branch of art he has successfully introduced the religious element, as may be seen in his popular painting of "Daniel in the Lions' Den" in the Walker Art Gallery.

No comments:

Post a Comment