In this painting, the artist placed the head of Christ just off centre on the canvas, in a yellow-gold circle that represents eternal life. He divided the canvas according to the ‘Divine Proportion’ where Christ’s eyes are on the vertical intersecting line 5:8. He placed Christ’s nose almost on the horizontal intersecting line at an intersecting point of 8:5.
The four red-purple dots on the corners of the painting represent the nails that were hammered into Christ’s hands and feet. Nails stabilized Him to the cross. There was one nail in each hand and one went through both of His feet.
The artist has used one of his favourite palettes, red, violet and yellow for this paintings The Martyr. He has also used white, and this is an unusual choice for the artist, but appropriate for this painting.
In Christian churches the liturgical colour yellow/gold represents the joyous resurrection of Christ and the hope of eternal life for all Christian believers. It is the colour of glory and jubilation and is used in Easter celebrations worldwide. Red is the colour of blood and fire and symbolizes praise and thanksgiving. Violet/purple is the colour of royalty and penitence. White is the colour of unbroken light and symbolizes the perfection of Christ.
The artist used short, swift brush strokes when applying brightly coloured paint to the canvas, and a thickly loaded brush when applying the white paint to the background.
Using a controlled hand, he was able to portray the deep anguish and passion that Christ felt at His crucifixion.
Acrylic on Masonite, date unknown.