Thursday, August 26, 2010

Temptation of Christ

Title: Temptation of Christ

Artist: James B. Janknegt

Medium: Oil on panel

Size: 66 x 60 cm

Date: 1990

Location: tbd.

Matthew 4:5-7: Then the devil takes him to the holy city, and sets him upon the edge of the temple, and says to him, If thou be Son of God cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give charge to his angels concerning thee, and on their hands shall they bear thee, lest in anywise thou strike thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, It is again written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

The devil tempted Christ to presume upon his Father's power and protection, in a point of safety. There are no extremes more dangerous than despair and presumption, especially in the affairs of our souls. Satan has no objection to staging his assaults at holy places. The holy city is the place where he does, with the greatest advantage, tempt men to pride and presumption. All high places are slippery places; advancements in the world makes a man a mark for the Tempter. Satan is well versed in Scripture and able to quote it readily. It is possible for a man to have his head full of Scripture, and his mouth full of Scripture, while his heart is full of bitter enmity to God.

This portrait of Christ’s temptation brilliantly contains the elements of his battle to resist the tempter, from the updated landscape of the “Holy city”, to the images of a tumbling Jesus in the irises of this own eyes. The predominant red hues further suggest the struggle that Jesus faces, the taunts of the devil prefiguring those cast at Jesus at his own crucifixion: He saved others; himself he cannot save (Mark 15:31).

James B. Janknegt was born in Austin, Texas. A self-confessed Jesus Freak while in high school, Jim became part of The Well, a trans-denominational coffee house where he painted murals on the walls and sang in the folk group. He attended art school at the University of Texas in Austin and graduated with a BFA in 1978. He left Texas and moved to Iowa City to attend graduate school, graduating with an MA and MFA. He has exhibited his work in multiple galleries and museums. Further of his work can be viewed at

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