The artist became a Christian during mid-life. He painted several ‘religious’ scenes.
In this scene, the principal subject, Christ, hangs on the cross, bloodied from whippings and beatings. A soldier had pierced His side with a spear. A centurion who said, ‘Surely, this man was the Son of God’ stands guard, waiting for permission from Pontius Pilate to have the body of Christ removed from the cross.
The artist rarely used black in his paintings but has done so here, as the theme of the painting required dark colours. Red-violet is the dominant colour, and apart from the soft tone of Christ’s body, contrasting yellow-gold, the colour of joy and jubilation, is the only other colour used in the painting.
In order to balance the painting, Christ has been placed just off centre on the canvas, and the centurion at a suitable distance from Him. A fire burns at the base of the cross and its light reflects on Christ’s body and Pilot’s inscription at the top of the cross, ‘INRI’ (Jesus, the Nazarene, King of the Jews).
There is a passionate feel in this depiction of Christ on the Cross. It held meaning for the artist. A photograph does not do this painting justice.
Acrylic on Masonite, later career. (Cleaned and framed.)