Last week I stated that I would be starting a new this semester and delve into a more religious themed style of painting, so this week I’d like to share with you all how that’s going. I’ve chosen to make a painting series based around the final days of Jesus before his crucifixion and leading up to the moment he ascended, leaving this earthly realm behind and taking his place on the throne of the next kingdom that awaits us. I am Starting out with the night before his execution where Christ prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. I want to portray the mental and existential anguish Jesus the man must have felt as he begs god to “take this cup” away from him in a last ditch effort to save his life.
This painting takes inspiration from Paul Gauguin’s “Christ on the Mount of Olives” which too shows Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion after all his disciples abandoned him immediately before his arrest. Where Gauguin is portraying Christ’s most vulnerable and lonely moment I instead want to show Christ facing the reality that the next day he will die in pain on the cross his father has condemned him to. He understands that his suffering will lead to the salvation of all mankind but at the same time he, like all men, doesn’t not want to die. And to die in such a brutal way, one could understand his reservations. Christ shown in my painting is a man, his tears over the earthly kingdom rise towards the heavens to reassure him that this is not the end. However, to gain the kingdom he must first suffer and die.
I have mapped out the overall composition and meaning of the piece I now need to think about how I’d like to paint the thing. I still need to contemplate this endeavor a bit however I am thinking about taking further inspiration from this Gauguin piece and integrate the figure with the background with colors that echo throughout the composition. This is partly because it will make for a more interesting final product but also to show Christ’s connection to the earth that he must now leave behind. I believe this would give more symbolism and emotional weight to the the painting.