Artist: Frank Mason
Medium: Oil on panel
Size: 86.36 x 60.96 cm
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.