Monday, August 31, 2015

Paintings of Jesus

Raising of Lazarus 18 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Illustration Board on Panel, 2015

Jesus Walks on Water 18 x 24 inches, Acrylic on Illustration Board on Panel, 2015

While I have been translating the Old Testament (and have published volume one of The Anderson Revisionist Bible which includes Genesis and Exodus), I have also been working on the New Testament as well (and have published The Gospel of John).   Of course this has inspired me to do some Jesus pictures as well as Moses pictures.  The first two of these are shown above.

In Raising of Lazarus we have Jesus approaching the tomb of Lazarus and calling him from the grave, after the stone has been rolled away from the cave/tomb.  Lazarus staggers to his feet, still wrapped up in linen grave clothes.  At Jesus' side are Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha.  The many mourners who are witnessing the event are in the the background, but not painted for sake of keeping the composition simple and preserving the dramatic impact.  Most paintings depicting of this incident do not conform at all to the sole and somewhat spare account of this miraculous event that is related in the Gospel of John.  I have tried to be as faithful as I could to John.  We know nothing of Jesus' appearance save that he looked and dressed as an ordinary person who did not stand out in a crowd.  As a first century Galilean and Judaic rabbi, he would have had a simple beard and hair that might be a little longish by modern standards, but most definitely not shoulder lengthened.  It's a fair bet he had brown eyes and black or dark brown hair.

In Jesus Walks on Water some of the apostles are crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat at night, during a storm when they see Jesus walking on the water.  I assume Jesus would have taken off his sandals when he made his watery trek.  A stiff breeze is blowing his robe.  Simon Peter is the middle figure in the boat.  In the Gospels of Mark and John the apostles see Jesus walking on water and bring him on board the boat.  Jesus calms their fears and the boat safely reaches the shore.  In Matthew, written after Mark, Peter walks on water as well, until he loses faith, sinks, and must be saved by Jesus.  (This seems like an embellishment of the story intended to give it a moral.)  The boat painted is intended to be similar to a 1st-century vessel recently unearthed in the Sea of Galilee and named the "Jesus Boat." I tried to convey the appearance of rain, but not the sense of darkness, which would obscure the figures too much and make the scene too hard to read. 

More of work can be seen on my website

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