Replay – oil on canvas – 79 x 91.5 cm
I painted this picture more than twenty years ago when I was completing my Fine Art Degree at Middlesex University. My work was not popular with the tutors who considered this kind of painting outmoded and anachronistic. Perhaps I’ll discuss my experience at Middlesex in a future blog.
The Christian story has been illustrated by numerous artists over the centuries as the church used to be a great patron of the arts. In many of these pictures the artists used contemporary settings and clothes for example, ‘The Adoration of the Magi’ as painted by the Venetian Giorgione and the Flemish (Belgium) artist Bruegel. It could be that painting biblical stories in this way made them more accessible to a contemporary audience. I should hope that most people realized that the historical Christ was unlikely to be blond haired and white skinned. I have carried on this tradition. I got some friends of mine to dress up then I made some drawings and took some photographs. Once I had the composition established I got them to come back for some life sittings.
The stories told in the gospels are full of dramatic incidents however the taunting of Jesus has always fascinated me. I very much admire those who can show courage in the face of cruelty and intimidation. And these situations have been repeated endlessly over the centuries so I thought I could give my picture a 20th century feel, the way that Jesus and two of his mockers are looking out at the viewer makes it look as though they are posing for a photograph and this idea is further enhanced by the casual way that the figure on the right is resting his arm on Jesus’ shoulder.
I grew up with Christianity and I liked it when I was a child however as I grew older I found it difficult to accept the supernatural aspects of this religion. To be continued…