Friday, March 25, 2016

The Joy of ART: "It Is Finished"

Art moves me. Art touches me in so many various ways – with laughter, memories of a long-forgotten time, peace, conviction, awe of God’s creation. I’ve recently become fascinated by artists’ depictions of Jesus, which speak to me in a way that’s hard to describe.

On this Good Friday and Resurrection weekend, I wanted to share some of that art. I was able to find the artists’ thoughts about their paintings in most cases, and I’ve included that as well. May you enjoy these as I have . . . and look for more on Sunday! (Click on each image for a larger view.)

In Remembrance of Me
by Greg Olsen

        The Savior sat in an upper room. The world was on the brink of a great struggle between good and evil, a very real battle for the souls of all men and women. Though surrounded by His beloved apostles, the weight of the world’s sorrows – past, present and future – rested on Him alone. No one else could comprehend what lay ahead in the dark shadows of Gethsemane or upon the rugged cross at Calvary.
        This Last Supper marks the beginning of the end. Judas has silently departed and is on his way to complete his treacherous bargain. The time has come for Christ to “suffer all things.” Though understandably apprehensive, and wishing, even praying, that this cup might pass from Him, He nevertheless submitted His will to that of His Father. He went on to drink the bitter cup and drain the very dregs – because He loves us!

by Liz Lemon Swindle

When I started this painting, I believed that Gethsemane was about the suffering of Christ. About the agony so intense that He trembled because of pain and bled from every pore. By the time I finished, I saw that the miracle of Gethsemane went beyond the suffering. The miracle was the love that brought Him there.

No Greater Love
by Greg Olsen

Via Dolorosa
by Jon McNaughton

        This painting has over 100 figures, both good and bad, men and women that have left their footprint on Christianity. The man in the middle represents the modern Christian...a man who must decide whether or not he will stand up for his Christian beliefs. Many are shouting out to tell him what to do. He raises his hand to say, "Be silent, for I know that Jesus is the Christ!" He touches Jesus' shoulder to indicate that he gets his strength from the Master.
        Each person was chosen based on how they may have influenced Christianity for good or evil. Some were great leaders or inspiring examples of those who spoke the truth regardless of the consequences. Others were merciless in their persecution of those who professed Christianity. And some are considered to be good or evil depending on whom you talk to. In some cases it's hard to know... only God can judge.

The Crucifixion
by Nathan Greene

Jesus said, ". . .if I be lifted up from the earth, ( I ) will draw all men to Myself," ( John 12:32 ). The cross and its unique message are the focus of the gospel. At Calvary the Saviour gave His life so that all men could be free. While many creeds stress mankind striving to appease God and earn his favour, the gospels tell of God reaching down to man, experiencing suffering (even to death on a cross) to ransom His creation.

It Is Finished
by Liz Lemon Swindle

How could the disciples understand that He loved them enough to allow Himself be taken, scourged, and killed? How could they know that His death was for them? Yet with three simple words, "It is finished," the door to salvation was opened and His love was forever etched on the hearts of the believers.

Beneath Golgotha
by Jon McNaughton

        There truly is a face of a skull in the side of the hill just as I painted it. When on a research trip to the Holy Land, I visited a place believed to be where Christ was crucified. It was called Golgotha or Calvary, which when translated of the skull. There is no geological formation around Jerusalem which resembles this spot. It is just North of the city a short distance from the Damascus Gate. Currently there is an Arab bus station beneath the hill. On the opposite side of the hill is the Garden Tomb.
        This painting is very different from other Crucifixion scenes I have seen. Traditionally it would be painted on top of a hill and the cross would be straight and well crafted. I endeavored in every way to paint this scene as archeologically accurate as possible. The Savior's body has just been pulled down from the cross and is being wrapped while the Roman guards gather together on the right side. The crosses are made from olive trees which would have been the common wood used for crucifixion. This image is both haunting and provocative to me as I consider the reality of my Lord's final hours in mortality.

The Roman Centurion
by Nathan Greene

Mark 15:39 tells us that the Roman centurion, who had witnessed the suffering and death of Christ at Calvary first-hand, said: "Truly this man was the Son of God!" This painting pictures the pensive officer, after the body of Jesus had been removed from the cross, bending down to pick up a discarded crown of thorns, a powerful reminder of Jesus' great sacrifice for mankind. The centurion symbolizes all of us as we contemplate the love of God and His gift of forgiveness.

Thy Will Be Done
by Del Parson

        I wanted to do this painting, but I didn’t want it to focus on the suffering aspect of the Atonement. I wanted to portray the Savior’s resolve to overcome the suffering of his ordeal. I wanted this painting to express a feeling of Christ’s love and devotion to His Father — His willingness to complete His earthly mission as He had been ordained to do from the beginning. I didn’t want a painting of a tortured, suffering man, but of the Savior of the world, nearing His victory in spite of His suffering.
        We know that the soldiers who tortured and crucified the Lord were not in charge of the situation. Priests mocked the Savior, saying that if he really was the Son of God, to come down from the cross. He was not at the mercy of the executioners. Instead, He was willingly saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
        I asked my son to pose for this painting. His attitude was “since it’s my dad, I’ll do it for him.” We discussed the painting and prayed together, and we really wanted to communicate what the Savior must have felt during the culmination of His earthly mission. As my son had helped, it struck me – here is my son, doing something for his father. Then I really began to think of Christ suffering not only for us, but doing it for His Father as well. I thought of the tremendous love He has for His Father. Then I thought of my feeling for my own son, as he was doing this thing for me, and was overwhelmed with the feelings that the Father must have had for his son.
        The emotion in my son’s eyes turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. The eyes of my own son, willing to do this for me, show just the feeling I hoped to capture – eyes looking heavenward with willingness and determination to do His Father’s will. In the finished painting, the eyes are the only features that resemble my son.


  1. Carole, thank you so much for sharing this gallery of pictures with words from the artists.

    1. So glad you took the time to look at them, Kay. I've always loved books and music, but only recently realized how much I enjoyed artwork. I just found these so moving!

  2. I'm still reading through all the characters in the Via Dolorosa by Jon McNaughton. Very interesting, but too many for me to do at one sitting.

  3. I always enjoy your art posts! Thanks for being a part of Booknificent Thursday this week on! Always great to have you!