Tuesday, March 29, 2011


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.

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