Thursday, March 31, 2011

Christ on the Cross

Title: Christ on the Cross
Artist: Eugène Delacroix
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 73.5 x 59.7 cm
Date: 1853
Location: The National Gallery, London.

John 19:31-37 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

Although not a practicing Christian, Delacroix painted a number of New Testament subjects. Evidently, he was attracted to the drama of Christ's Passion and was endeavoring to deal with issues of personal faith raised by Christ's human and divine nature. Delacroix painted this subject several times throughout his career. One version showing Christ between the two thieves was exhibited at the Salon of 1835 (Musée Municipal des Beaux-Arts, Vanne). Another version of 1846, closely related to this painting, was shown at the Salon of 1847 and is now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore.

Eugène Delacroix (April 1798 – August 1863) was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school. Delacroix's use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of color profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. Renoir and Manet made copies of his paintings, and Degas purchased the portrait of Baron Schwiter for his private collection. Delacroix was trained by the Neo-classical painter Pierre Guérin, from 1816 to about 1823. In style his work shows the influence of painters he had studied, notably Rubens. He was an admirer of English painting, and visited England in 1825. In 1832 he travelled to Spain, Morocco and Algiers. After the Revolution of 1830 he was favored by Louis-Philippe, and later by Napoleon III, with a long series of official commissions, beginning in 1833 with a series of decorations in the Palais Bourbon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Christ on the Cross

Title: Christ on the Cross
Artist: Francisco de Zurbarán
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 106 x 110.2 cm
Date: 1627
Location: Art Institute, Chicago.

John 19:28-30 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

On one level the idea of thirst also has spiritual significance. Earlier Jesus had said, "My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (4:34). And when he was arrested he told Peter to put his sword away, saying, "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" (18:11). Hunger and thirst become images for Jesus' desire to fulfill the Father's will to the end. Since the cup represents wrath and suffering, Jesus' taking of this drink may suggest the completion of that experience, as the Lamb of God now takes away the sin of the world. The work he has come to do is now complete. The great significance John attaches to the saying would symbolize both Jesus' commitment to obey God's will and the fulfillment of the suffering of the one who is the righteous sufferer.

Francisco de Zurbarán (November 1598 – August 1664) was a Spanish painter known primarily for his religious paintings depicting monks, nuns, and martyrs. Zurbarán gained the nickname Spanish Caravaggio, owing to the forceful, realistic use of chiaroscuro in which he excelled. His subjects were mostly severe and ascetic religious vigils, the spirit chastising the flesh into subjection, the compositions often reduced to a single figure. In 1627, while still resident in Llerena, Zurbarán painted this spectacular picture, that made him famous, for the Dominicans. It was placed in a small oratory chapel and made a strong impression. The represented drama in the composition is increased by the overpowering light, which heightens then transforms the real into superreal, thus expressing the dual nature of Christ.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Golgotha

Title: Golgotha
Artist: Franz von Stuck
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 106 x 110.2 cm
Date: 1917
Location: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn.

John 19:25-27 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

One of Germany’s leading Symbolists, Stuck frequently painted biblical or mythological subjects that addressed dark themes such as sin and death. Particularly interested in the narrative and details of the Crucifixion, Stuck devoted several canvases to this subject late in his career, during the difficult years of World War I. Calling on new scholarly theories regarding the Gospel accounts, Stuck departs from tradition and places Christ at eye level with the witnesses to his sufferings. The artist cleverly structures his composition, placing the viewer immediately to the left of the crucified thief in the foreground and to the right of the haloed Virgin Mary, thereby closing a solemn yet intimate circle. Stuck also chooses to show Christ with his feet side by side rather than overlapping—again, referencing nineteenth-century debates about the historical details of this method of execution.

Franz Von Stuck (February, 1863 - August 30, 1928) was a German painter, sculptor, engraver and architect. He at first earned his living by illustrating various magazines, and in 1892 was one of the founders of the Munich Sezession. In 1895 he began teaching at the Munich Academy, where his pupils included Kandinsky, Klee and Albers, whose subsequent careers enhanced von Stuck's fame. His many nudes, with their torrid sensuality and a linear style combining decorative and erotic elements, are direct precursors of Jugendstil, the German Art Nouveau movement.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Crucifixion

Title: The Crucifixion
Artist: Frank Mason
Medium: Oil on panel
Size: 86.36 x 60.96 cm
Date: 1998
Location: Private collection.

John 19:23-24 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did.

The significance of the garment's being seamless is that the soldiers are led to draw of lots for it, which in turn echoes Psalm 22:18 – “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment”. This is the first of four Old Testament passages cited as being fulfilled in Jesus' Passion, all of which refer to particular details of what takes place. John marshals these texts around this most central, and most scandalous, event in order to show that the death of God's Son was in fact the will of God the Father. Behind the idea of fulfillment is the notion of God's sovereign control, which weaves repeating patterns: Scripture expresses God's will, and Jesus is submissive to God's will, so his activity fulfills the Scripture because it flows from the same source and is controlled by the same Father.

Frank Herbert Mason (February 1921- June 2009) was an American painter and teacher born in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the Music and Arts High School in New York until he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Art Students League of New York with Frank DuMond. Mason studied with Dumond until DuMond's death in 1951, when he himself began teaching at the Art Students League. Mason takes his place in a long line of Old Masters who have interpreted the New Testament, and, like them, he has succeeded in infusing the dignity of his craft and the expression of faith.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Crucifixion of Christ

Title: The Crucifixion of Christ
Artist: Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 341 x 371 cm
Date: 1568
Location: San Cassiano, Venice.

John 19:19-22 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Common practice was to have those sentenced to crucifixion carry signs indicating the cause of their punishment, or to have others carry the signs for the accused. The title Pilate has written continues to goad the Jewish leaders, and they insist that he change it. But for the first time he stands firm against them, and John seems to suggest this title over the cross was itself a form of witness to Israel and the world. Pilate unwittingly made such a proclamation, of course, as was the case with his having chosen the title itself. Such features fit with John's theme that all is working out according to God's will. So here we have another irony: the man who does not have a clue about the truth proclaims, unwittingly, the truth about Jesus. And we have the tragedy of the representatives of the one true God, who should have recognized the truth, continuing to reject it.

Tintoretto (September, 1518 – May, 1594) also known as Jacopo Robusti or Jacopo Comin, was an Italian painter and a notable exponent of the Venetian Renaissance school. His father, Giovanni, was a dyer, or tintore; hence the son got the nickname of Tintoretto, little dyer, or dyer's boy. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso. Indeed, fellow Venetian master Sebastiano del Piombo remarked that Tintoretto could paint in two days as much as himself in two years. Like Titian, Tintoretto kept a huge workshop, his chief assistants being his sons Domenico and Marco, and his daughter Marietta. Domenico became his foreman and is said to have painted many portraits, although none can be attributed to him with certainty.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Calvary

Title: Calvary
Artist: Nikolai Ge
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 278 x 223 cm
Date: 1892
Location: Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

John 19:18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Ge reworked this canvas several times, as evidenced by the figure of the Roman centurion looming up unfinished, or partly repainted, in the background. He tried by formal means to translate the moral torment and suffering by accentuating the expressiveness of the faces, and refusing the academic vision of an ideal, inhuman body, unaltered by the Passion. The dramatic lighting intensifies the violent emotion that he wanted to trigger in the spectator. The work was considered shocking and near-blasphemous, and Tsar Alexander ordered it to be withdrawn from the 22nd exhibition of the Itinerants where it was shown for the first time.

Nikolai Nikolayevich Ge (February 1831 –June 1894), a Russian artist, was born into a noble family of French origin. His parents died when he was young and he was raised by his serf nurse, who taught him compassion for the humiliated and a keen sense of other people’s sorrows. Ge entered the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1850, graduating in 1857 with a Major Gold Medal for his picture The Witch of Endor Calling up the Spirit of the Prophet Samuel. He traveled extensively over the next dozen years, finally settling in St. Petersburg in 1870 where he became one of the founders of the Peredvizhniki, the Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions. He was not a practicing Orthodox, but was deeply influenced by morality and Christian spirituality. He spent the last years of his life working on a cycle of paintings of the Passion of Christ, under the influence of the progressive writer Leo Tolstoy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Christ Carrying the Cross

Title: Christ Carrying the Cross
Artist: Luis de Morales
Medium: Oil on wood
Size: tbd.
Date: 1566
Location: Museo del Pariarca, Valencia

John 19:17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

It is not known why the place was called Skull (calvaria in Latin, hence the name Calvary), but the fact that Joseph had a tomb close by suggests this was not a place of public execution. The notion that the landscape had the appearance of a skull is possible, as evidenced by the hill near Gordon's Calvary today, though the shape of this particular hill is more recent than the first century.

Luis de Morales (c. 1520, Badajoz - 1586, Badajoz) was a Spanish painter. He worked for most of his life in Badajoz, a town on the Portuguese border, and his style, formed away from the influence of the court or great religious and artistic centres such as Seville, is highly distinctive. His pictures are usually fairly small and he concentrated on devotional images. He painted numerous versions of the Virgin and Child, and touching visions inspired by the theme of the Pieta, which are among his most popular works. The piety of his work has earned him the nickname 'El Divino'. This painting was inspired by a painting of the same subject by Sebastiano del Piombo.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crucify Him!

Title: Crucify Him!
Artist: Ivan Glazunov
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: tbd.
Date: 1994
Location: tbd.

John 19:12-16 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar” Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.

Jesus has just borne witness to the truth about himself, his Father, Pilate and the opponents. He has made Pilate even more uncomfortable, so Pilate begins to make further efforts to release him. The Jewish leaders counter these efforts with a decisive move--they bring in the issue of Pilate's loyalty to Caesar. It is, of course, highly ironic that Pilate's loyalty to Caesar should be threatened by Jews, members of the most disloyal and unruly section of the empire. Pilate is being humiliated by them. He knows he must give in to their wishes, but he is wily enough to humiliate them also in the process. Upon hearing their threat, he brings Jesus out and sits on the judge's seat (bema) to pass judgment. Such a choice between Jesus and other ultimate concerns in our lives faces each of us, for Jesus really is King and insists on complete loyalty as strongly as Tiberius. Pilate is faced with a choice of kings, and he does not choose wisely.

Ivan Glazunov (b. 1969) is a contemporary Russian painter. He is the son of noted Russian painter and teacher Ilya Glazunov, and has carried on his fathers traditions becoming a full professor at the Russian Academy of Painting and Architecture. He is regarded as a leader of the new generation of the artists of Russian realism, the continuer of the traditions of Old-Russian painting, religious and historical. Among his may prestigious projects was his participation in the restoration of the large Kremlin palace. In the antechamber, that adjoins the Aleksandrovsk and Andreev's halls of the Kremlin, Glazunov created the brilliant gallery of the portraits of Russian tsars, who created the Russian state. More of his work in various genres can be seen on his website http://ivanglazunov.ru/gallery .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ecce Homo

Title: Ecce Homo
Artist: Domenico Feti
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 137 x 113 cm
Date: 1605
Location: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

John 19:4-11 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

Often in this Gospel we see people who are mistaken about Jesus and his teaching because they are viewing reality solely in this-worldly categories, for example, the woman of Samaria (chap. 4). Jesus has used their misunderstandings to help these people come to a better view of reality, and that is what he now does with Pilate also: You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Pilate well understands that his power is dependent on the one who is over him, the emperor. He could understand Jesus to be saying nothing more than this. But now that Pilate realizes Jesus is claiming to be a son of God he has a chance to interpret Jesus correctly, to understand that God is the source of this power. Indeed, Jesus' reference to from above gives Pilate a hint as to the answer to his question of where Jesus is from. Thus this is a saying that tests Pilate's heart. Will he hear it correctly?

Domenico Fetti (also spelled Feti) (c. 1589 – 1623) was an Italian Baroque painter born in Rome. He studied under Ludovico Cigoli, was court painter to Vincenzo Gonzaga at Mantua from 1613 to 1622, and then settled in Venice. Working in the out-of-the-way location of Mantua allowed him to develop a highly original style of painting where a variety of different influences blended together. He trained during the last days of Mannerism, but he was influenced decisively by Rubens' arrival in Italy. His dialogue with Rubens and more generally his interest in Flemish and Dutch painting gave rise to a rich and luminous way with his brushstrokes. Feti, who was also an excellent portraitist, was one of a group of non-Venetian artists (including the German Liss and the Genoan Strozzi) who revivified painting in the city when there was a scarcity of native talent. Consequently, he is often classed as a member of the Venetian School, even though he spent only the last two years of his life there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mockery

Title: Mockery
Artist: Emil Nolde
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 86 x 106 cm
Date: 1909
Location: Brucke Museum, Berlin.

John 19:2-3 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Noldes's figures are large scale, crammed together in a constricting space. The result is crowded and claustrophobic. Nolde focuses our attention on the intense emotions of the event. Furthermore, the harsh drawing, agitated brushwork, and distortion of the figures enforce this feeling.

Emil Nolde (August 1867 – April 1956) was a German painter and printmaker. He was one of the first Expressionists and a member of Die Brücke, an influential group of German expressionist artists formed in Dresden in 1905. But for Nolde, the Third Reich brought defamation. His paintings were confiscated from the museums and his work was a special focus of the exhibition "Entartete Kunst" ("Degenerate Art"). From 1941 on he was prohibited from painting at all. Secretly he paint small scale watercolors which he called "unpainted pictures". After the war, between his eightieth and eighty-fifth birthday he gained various honors and awards. He is now considered to be one of the great painters of the 20th century, known for his vigorous brushwork and expressive choice of colors.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Flagellation

Title: Flagellation
Artist: Michael Pacher
Medium: Panel
Size: 113 x 139.5 cm
Date: 1495-98
Location: Österreichische Galerie, Vienna.

John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.

The panel was part of the altarpiece in the parish church of Salzburg, but only a few fragments remain. The work was Pacher’s last and, at 3300 Rhenish guilders, best-paying commission. Sadly, in 1709, the Franciscan friars of Salzburg condemned the existing altarpiece as “ancient and decrepit”, and it was dismantled. The severely trimmed depictions of the Betrothal and Flagellation that survived originally formed the front and rear views of one panel. Reconstruction evinces a double-transforming altarpiece with a shrine-height of 5.5 meters and an overall height of 16 meters, making it the largest known retable of this late-Gothic altar type featuring a Gesprenge (decorative super structure).

Michael Pacher (c. 1435 — August 1498) was an Austrian Tyrolean painter and sculptor active during the last quarter of the 15th century. Pacher was one of the earliest artists to introduce the principles of Renaissance painting into Germany. He was a comprehensive artist with a broad range of skills: sculpting, painting, and architecture of complex wood and stone. He painted structures for altarpieces on a scale unparalleled in North European art. His influence is primarily North Italian, and his work shares characteristics with that of painters such as Andrea Mantegna; however, German influences are also evident in his work, especially in his wood sculpture. He was most active from 1462 until his death.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Christ Presented to the People

Title: Christ Presented to the People
Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Medium: Drypoint on paper
Size: 39.1 x 45.4 cm
Date: 1655
Location: Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis.

John 18:28-40 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” They replied, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” They objected: “But we have no right to execute anyone.” This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die. Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus asked, “Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?” Pilate replied, ““Am I a Jew? Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Pilate said, “You are a king, then!” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate retorted “What is truth?” With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Silhouetted by a dark arch, the three protagonists, Pontius Pilate, Christ, and Barabbas, stand on the podium before a large civic building. Rembrandt captures the moment when Pilate, pointing towards Christ, asks the assembles crowd the question: "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all shout back, "Let Him be crucified!" Surrounded by an extraordinary architectural setting, soldiers, and the surge of the crowd below him, Christ looks helpless and isolated. This is one of Rembrandt's most celebrated prints because of its size, rarity, and complex composition. It is one of the few that Rembrandt did exclusively in drypoint, a process in which a sharp point is used to scratch a line directly into the copperplate.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (July 1606 – October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history, his work contributing to a period that historians call the Dutch Golden Age. Rembrandt produced etchings for most of his career, from 1626 to 1660, when he was forced to sell his printing-press and virtually abandoned etching. Only the troubled year of 1649 produced no dated work. Despite Rembrandt's financial success as an artist, teacher, and art dealer, his penchant for ostentatious living forced him to declare bankruptcy in 1656.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Peter’s Denial

Title: Peter’s Denial
Artist: Michael D. O’Brien
Medium: Acrylic on hardboard
Size: 60 x 60 cm
Date: c. 2005
Location: Private collection

John 18:25-27 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

As noted by the artist, Simon Bar Jonah loves Jesus, but does not understand himself. He is often brave and considers himself to be very strong. The Lord has renamed him "Peter", "Kepha", meaning "rock." When the time of ultimate testing comes, however, he is astonished and horrified to find himself ruled by fear, denying that he knows Jesus. John, by making Peter's denials simultaneous with Jesus' defense before Annas, has constructed a dramatic contrast wherein Jesus stands up to his questioners and denies nothing, while Peter cowers before his questioners and denies everything. The foil Peter provides helps highlight Jesus' regal strength and authority, the hallmark of John's portrait of Jesus in his passion. Yet Peter does repent, and in this repentance are the seeds of the man who will become the rock on which the Church is built.

Michael D. O'Brien (b. 1948) is a Roman Catholic author, artist, and frequent essayist and lecturer on faith and culture, living in Combermere, Ontario, Canada. Born in Ottawa, he is self-taught, without an academic background. His paintings, in a neo-Byzantine style with a contemporary interpretation, are also featured on the covers of all of his books. His work can be seen on his website http://www.studiobrien.com/.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Green Passion: Christ before Caiaphas

Title: Green Passion: Christ before Caiaphas
Artist: Albrecht Dürer
Medium: Pen drawing on green primed paper
Size: 28.3 x 17.8 cm
Date: 1504
Location: Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna.

John 18:18-24 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

The Green Passion, so named after the green primed paper, consists of twelve sheets, the purpose of which is not known. It has been assumed that they were used as preliminary sketches for stained glass windows. Like the other pictures, the sheet of Christ before Caiaphas distinguishes itself through its fine white highlights which achieve a magical plasticity and dramatic lighting - as was created by the "clair-obscur" technique - in their harmony with the green base color of the scene. Christ and Pilate, the two antagonists in the foreground, are positioned opposite each other and emphasized both by the lighting and the architecture.

Albrecht Dürer (May 1471 – April 1528) was a painter and printmaker, generally regarded as the greatest German Renaissance artist. His vast body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. Dürer was a Roman Catholic, although his writings suggest that he may have been sympathetic to Martin Luther's ideas. Dürer wrote of his desire to draw Luther in his diary in 1520: "And God help me that I may go to Dr. Martin Luther; thus I intend to make a portrait of him with great care and engrave him on a copper plate to create a lasting memorial of the Christian man who helped me overcome so many difficulties." His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints was undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, who entered into collaborations with printmakers to distribute their work beyond their local region.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Peter's Denial

Title: Peter's Denial
Artist: Carl Bloch
Medium: Oil on Copper Plate
Size: 104 x 84 cm
Date: 1865
Location: National History Museum, Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark.

John 18:15-18 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in. “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

John mentions "another disciple" who is known to the high priest and his household. It is not said whether Peter was unable to enter the room with the other disciple, or whether he chose to remain outside. The latter seems unlikely, given Peter's character, but the arrest has shaken him. He is now sifted, beginning with a question from the woman who attended the door. She asks, literally, "You also are not one of the disciples of this man, are you?" But, of course, there would be little other reason for a stranger to be there in the courtyard in the middle of a cold night. Furthermore, the fact that she says "you also" most likely indicates that she knows the other is a follower of Jesus. In this account, therefore, it seems to be Peter's association with the unnamed disciple that draws attention to his relation to Jesus. This other disciple shows no concern about her feelings regarding his discipleship, for he not only was admitted by her, but also came back to get Peter in. While Peter's attack with the sword may have made him fearful of being recognized, he is not in a position of legal difficulty, since there is no warrant for his arrest. Nor is there indication that he was physically threatened by this woman or the others. He has no such excuses for his denial. He who a few hours earlier had said he would die for Jesus now denies any association with him purely out of fear of what people would think.

Carl Heinrich Bloch (May 1834 – February 1890) was a Danish painter. He was born in Copenhagen and studied with Wilhelm Marstrand at the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi). His early work featured rural scenes from everyday life. From 1859 to 1866, Bloch lived in Italy. After many of Bloch’s paintings that were coming out of Italy were seen by influential patrons back home, he was commissioned to paint 23 new paintings for the King's Praying Chamber in the newly restored Frederiksborg Castle Chapel, in Hillerød, Denmark. Those paintings have become very popular illustrations, so much so that for over 40 years the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made heavy use of the imagery in Bloch's paintings in its church buildings and printed media.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taking Christ Ward

Title: Taking Christ Ward
Artist: Ilya Repin
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Size: tbd
Date: 1886
Location: tbd

John 18:1-14 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) “I am he,” Jesus said. When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me. “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

The group that came to arrest Jesus was composed of Roman soldiers, Jewish servants and an apostate apostle. John will make it clear that both Jew and Gentile are guilty of the death of the Son of God. Jesus is about to die for the life of the world, and the whole world needs it. The Jewish forces that were sent were not a police force as such but court servants at the disposal of the Sanhedrin when necessary for police purposes. The detachment of soldiers (speira) refers to a cohort, a group of 600 soldiers under a military tribune. The entire cohort would not have been deployed on this mission, but there would have been a significant force. The festivals in Jerusalem were always politically volatile, and after the welcome Jesus had received there was good reason to expect trouble--or so it would have seemed to the Roman and Jewish authorities who understood Jesus so poorly. They bring torches and lanterns to search for the Light of the World; they bring weapons against the Prince of Peace.

Ilya Yefimovich Repin (August 1844 – September, 1930) was a leading Russian painter and sculptor of the Peredvizhniki artistic school. In 1866, after apprenticeship with a local icon painter named Bunakov and preliminary study of portrait painting, he went to Saint Petersburg and was shortly admitted to the Imperial Academy of Arts as a student. From 1873 to 1876 on the Academy's allowance, Repin sojourned in Italy and lived in Paris, where he was exposed to French Impressionist painting, which had a lasting effect upon his use of light and color. His realistic works often expressed great psychological depth and exposed the tensions within the existing social order. Beginning in the late 1920s, detailed works on him were published in the Soviet Union, where a Repin cult developed about a decade later, and where he was held up as a model "progressive" and "realist" to be imitated by "Socialist Realist" artists in the USSR.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Christ as Saviour

Title: Christ as Saviour
Artist: El Greco
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Size: 73 x 56.5 cm
Date: c. 1600
Location: National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

John 17:1-26 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[ your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

This painting likely was painted as an individual work, not belonging to a series of Christ with the Apostles (known in Spanish as Apostolado). Christ is represented as the Savior of the World (Salvator Mundi). The long and narrow head of Christ, the frontal position and the hieratic quality of the representation are strongly reminiscent of Byzantine images of the Pantocrator (Christ as Ruler of all), with which El Greco was very familiar.

El Greco (1541 – April, 1614) was a painter, sculptor, and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. Today considered one of the greatest artists of the Spanish school El Greco was born in Crete, a Greek island then under Venetian control. The artist always acknowledged his heritage, signing his works with his given name, Domenikos Theotokopoulus, in Greek characters. Little is known of his youth, but El Greco's early works in the Byzantine tradition of icon painting demonstrate that he learned his skills within this conservative tradition before exposure to Venetian High Renaissance art broadened his stylistic approach.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles

Title: Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles
Artist: Duccio di Buoninsegna
Medium: Tempera on wood.
Size: 50 x 53 cm
Date: c. 1308-11
Location: Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena.

John 16:1-33 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. [...] I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” [...] Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” Jesus replied, “Do you now believe? A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Duccio portrays Jesus giving the new commandment to the apostles (now eleven), Judas having already betray Him. His sideways position, shown up by the half-open door, is in contrast to the close-knit group of disciples. They are all turning the same way in thoughtful attitudes, the soft drapery of their colored robes animating the whole scene. Duccio has avoided haloes since the conspicuous shape of the golden discs might have created an overpowering effect, besides taking up most of the space in the picture.

Duccio di Buoninsegna (c. 1255-1260 – c. 1318-1319) was the first great Sienese painter, and one of the most influential Italian artists of his time. Born in Siena, Tuscany, he worked mostly with pigment and egg tempera and like most of his contemporaries painted religious subjects. He influenced Simone Martini and the brothers Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti, among others. Duccio sums up the grave and austere beauty of centuries of Byzantine tradition and infuses it with a breath of the new humanity which was being spread by the new Orders of SS. Francis and Dominic.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The True Vine

Title: The True Vine
Artist: Jodi Simmons
Medium: Tempera on panel.
Size: tbd.
Date: c. 2009
Location: Private Collection.

John 15:1-27 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

Jesus begins with the Gospel's final "I am" saying. The earlier sayings had focused on Jesus as the life-giver and had included an invitation to come to him and to believe in him. Now, however, Jesus is speaking to those who have already come to him, and so his charge is that they remain in him. The earlier theme of life is now developed in terms of intimate union with Jesus, a sharing in his own life. Thus, this is a fitting conclusion to the "I am" sayings. The image is not a parable, since it is not a story, but rather an extended metaphor. The main point of the image is clear enough: the disciple's very life depends on the intimate union of believers with Jesus. As branches, believers either bear fruit and are pruned to bear more fruit, or do not bear fruit and are thrown away and burned.

Jodi Simmons is a contemporary American icon painter, currently working from a studio in Massachusetts. In the eyes of traditional Eastern Orthodox icon artists, Jodi crosses over canonical boundaries in her handling of sacred subjects. Why, for example, is Christ shown so often without a beard? And what are all those geometric patterns, crisscrossing her panels? For Jodi, he is “the blueprint of all creation,” the fixed point in the circle of eternity from which lines radiate out in all directions, creating new shapes and forms, wherever they are intersected. More of her innovative work can be seen at http://sacredartpilgrim.com/collection/view/68 .

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jesus Christ Yamagiwa Electric Corporation Ltd.

Title: Jesus Christ/Yamagiwa Electric Corporation Ltd.
Artist: Tadanori Yokoo
Medium: Printed four color poster
Size: 73.0 x 102.9 cm
Date: 1974
Location: Various; Edition of 1974.

John 14:1-30 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” [...] Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you [...]”

This poster was used as a window display by an electric light company, and for the simple reason that it was produced in 1974, exactly 1,974 copies were printed. The sacred triangular symbol above the head of Christ is taken from the Tantra Art. As always, Yokoo is perfectly willing to use one religion’s sacred symbol to express the idea of another religion. In Tantrism a triangular shape with the apex pointing downwards represents the feminine creative energy of the universe, yet Yokoo’s inclusion of the triangle here, it has been given no more significance than a Christian symbol representing the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Tadanori Yokoo (June 1936) is a Japanese graphic designer, illustrator, printmaker and painter. Born in Nishiwaki, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, he is one of Japan's most successful and internationally recognized graphic designers and artists. He began his career as a stage designer for avant garde theatre in Tokyo. By the late 60s he had already achieved international recognition for his work and was included in the 1968 "Word & Image" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Four years later MoMA mounted a solo exhibition of his graphic work organized by Mildred Constantine.

Regarding our friends in Japan, please go to http://blog.givewell.org/2011/03/11/japan-earthquaketsunami-disaster-relief-donations/ for information regarding Earthquake Relief efforts.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Last Supper of Jesus

Title: The Last Supper of Jesus
Artist: Andre Derain

Medium:
Oil on canvas
Size: 220 x 280 cm
Date: 1911
Location: tbd.

John 13:31-38 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”

By calling them “my children” Jesus is putting the disciples in a relation to himself that is analogous to his relation to the Father. This term of endearment expresses his love for them and is a poignant introduction to his announcement that his departure is imminent. The command to love, while on one level nothing new, is, on another level, in that it is in keeping with Jesus' own love for them. The love of God has now been mediated in a radically new way, through the incarnation. And the possibility of sharing in that divine love now becomes possible in a manner and to a degree unlike anything up to this point.

André Derain (June 1880 – September 1954) was a French artist, painter, sculptor and, with Henri Matisse, a co-founder of Fauvism. The years 1911–1914 are sometimes referred to as his gothic period, and about this time Derain's work began overtly reflecting his study of the Old Masters, and the role of color was reduced as his forms became austere. The 1920s marked the height of his success. However, during World War 2, due in part to his official visit to Germany traveling with other French artists to attend an exhibition by Nazi sculptor Arno Breker, he was branded a collaborator and ostracized by many former supporters.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Last Supper

Title: The Last Supper
Artist: Simon Vouet
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 199 x 297 cm
Date: 1615-20
Location: Palazzo Apostolico, Loreto.

John 13:18-30 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

The common Old Testament idea that God and his true prophets are known by their ability to foretell events (for example, Is 48:5) is seen to be true of Jesus. He continues to give the word that cleanses his disciples by revealing himself to be the revealer of God. Thus the betrayal story itself bears witness to Jesus in three ways, namely, through his preternatural knowledge of his disciples, through the witness of Scripture and through his own prediction.

Simon Vouet (January 1590 –June 1649) was a leading French Baroque painter and an arbiter of taste for almost 20 years. The son of an artist, he settled in Italy in 1613, living chiefly in Rome, with periods in Genoa, Venice and Naples. His style shows an individual talent and a profound study of Italian painters, especially Veronese. Vouet soon enjoyed high favor, including the patronage of Pope Urban VIII. In 1627 he was invited back to France, where he became First Painter, a position challenged only once, in 1640-42, when he was brought into an artificial rivalry with Poussin. Vouet taught or collaborated with almost all the painters of the next generation in France, notably Le Brun, Le Sueur and Mignard. His portraits of the court of Louis XIII and most of his large-scale decorative schemes for Parisian houses and country chateaux have been destroyed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Christ Washing the Apostles Feet

Title: Christ Washing the Apostles Feet
Artist: Dirck van Baburen
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 199 x 297 cm
Date: c. 1616
Location: Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

John 13:1-17 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said, “No, you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Simon Peter replied, “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Baburen's broadly narrative Christ Washing the Apostles Feet typifies the Utrecht School formulaic, stages approach. St Peter's pose, as he protests that Christ should not lower himself to such a humble role, anticipates the violently active figures Bernini sculpted on some of his Roman fountain bases.

Dirck van Baburen (c. 1595 – February 1624) was a Dutch painter who was a leading member of the Utrecht school. After studying painting with a portraitist and history painter in Utrecht, Baburen traveled to Rome about 1612 where he was influenced by the dramatic chiaroscuro style of the Italian painter Caravaggio. His most important Italian commission was the decoration of a chapel in the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome (1615-20).