"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Art: The Crucifixion with Saints, Painting by John Collier

Keeping with the holy week, I’m presenting this painting by a contemporary artist, John Collier.  Collier is a best known for sculpture, especially the sculpture at the 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial, and you can see a PBS interview about his Ground Zero sculptures here.   I learned of Collier as he was a guest on the EWTN show, The Journey Home, which of course makes him a Catholic convert.  

Frankly I was very intrigued by this painting more than his sculpture as I did a search of his work.  

In the Old Testament the life of Christ has many "prefigurations," and His Crucifixion is no exception. Here we see: Abraham and Isaac, Isaiah who foresaw the life and suffering of Jesus, John, "the Disciple whom Jesus loved." Also we find Mary, St. Francis, St. Trse of Lisieux, Mary Magdalene and Father Maximilian Maria Kolbe, all to remind the viewer of what truly was given to us on the cross.

The selection of saints is certainly interesting but what really captures me is the layout.  Look at how small it makes the humans in the fore.  With angel hovering above and behind, it projects to perspective upwards, toward heaven.  Look at all that space above and behind the cross.  The cross is pushed much forward into the foreground.  And this is the only Crucifixion painting I have ever seen with a naked tree behind the cross.  Is that the tree from the Garden of Eden?  Or the tree of life?  

And you learn more about John Collier here.

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