Artist: Gabriel Max
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 71.9 x 87.9 cm
Location: The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
19 IMAGES FROM THE 19th CENTURY: PART 15
Luke 8:51-56 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.
The model for Christ has been identified as Joseph Mair, who played the role of the Lord in the famous Oberammergau Passion Play, and the artist’s first wife, Emma Kitzinger, is thought to have posed for the daughter of Jairus. Although favoring the dark tones of his teacher Karl Theodor von Piloty, Max shows his own tendency to add light, delicate tones where applicable. Here, the daughter of Jairus glows with a renewed life, as though the power of Jesus has flowed from his darkened figure, and poured into her. Her expression appears almost bewildered as she rises up from her resting place.
Gabriel Cornelius Ritter von Max (August 1840 – November 1915) was born in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied between 1855 and 1858 at the Prague Academy of Arts with Eduard von Engerth. From 1863 to 1867 he studied at the Munich Academy with Karl Theodor von Piloty, and also Hans Makart and Franz Defregger. His first critical success was in 1867 with the painting "Martyr at the Cross": that painting transformed the dark palette of Piloty into a religious-mystical symbolism using a psychological rendering of its subject. He continued to use the dark palette of the Piloty school well into the 1870s, later moving toward a more muted palette, using fewer, clearer colors.