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 .

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