Friday, February 18, 2011

Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph

Title: Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph (First Cartoon)
Artist: Graham Sutherland
Medium: Oil on Gouache on board
Size: 201.9 x 110.5 cm
Date: 1953
Location: Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry.

This cartoon was in response to a specific commission from reconstruction committee of Coventry Cathedral in England. The requirement was to combine the victory, serenity and compassion of Christ in Glory as depicted in Revelation 4:2-7 “...there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby...” Sutherland sought to find a means of expression that drew partly on convention, yet in places could might break entirely free from it to speak directly to the contemporary viewer. His Christ would ‘look vital, non-sentimental, non-ecclesiastical, of the moment, yet for all time.’

Graham Vivien Sutherland (August, 1903 – February, 1980) was an English artist. In his early years he produced prints of pastoral subjects, and did not begin to paint in earnest until he was in his mid-30s, following the collapse of the print market in 1930. Sutherland focused on the inherent strangeness of natural forms, and abstracting them, sometimes giving his work a surrealist appearance. Having converted to Catholicism in 1926, from around 1950, until his death he was deeply involved in religion. Following the war he produced several religious pieces, including The Crucifixion (1946) for St Matthew's Church, Northampton and the tapestry Christ in Glory for Coventry Cathedral. This cartoon was the first study for the Coventry tapestry.

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