The artist became a Christian when he was approaching middle age. His beliefs meant a lot to him and he painted several ‘religious’ scenes.
In this painting of Christ’s wooden cross on Golgotha, the body of Christ has been removed. The cross has been placed just off centre in accordance with the compositional ‘rules’ of canvas painting. The artist has applied thick paint to give it a rough, rugged appearance. It shows the blood stained holes in the wood, where nails were hammered through Christ’s hands and feet to secure them to the cross.
Red-violet is the dominant colour. Its tones are used with white, yellow and blue colours, on both the cross and the centurion’s helmet. These colours are in contrast with the darkly painted background.
The artist has placed light on the front of the cross, and on the centurion, who stands nearby with a spear. Christ’s side had been pierced by a spear, but not necessarily with this spear. When Christ breathed His last breath, the curtain in the temple was torn, and the centurion uttered, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God.’
The composition uses strong lines and shape to represent the heavy wooden cross. Though not clear, the crossbeams indicate writing that said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’, (INRI). Usually, the nature of the person’s crimes were inscribed above their heads on the crucifixes.
The artist used smooth brushstrokes in the background, and he was able to show the ruggedness of the wood, in parts, by criss-crossing his brushstrokes. The painting is highly textured.
The mood of the painting is serious, yet the lighter colours give a sense of hope.
There are some dots in the background, and these may resemble stars.
Acrylic on Masonite, later career. (Cleaned and framed.)