Back in November of 2016, I bid on a commission at a cathedral, calling for an exploration of the Stations of the Cross. It has been a number of years since I created a series of works based on a biblical theme (I tend to do this every few years or so) and I wanted to at least feel out the idea a bit.
While I did not get the commission, I have continued to develop the work from the proposal. Below are a bunch of the pieces in progress. Each is made on an iPad Pro using an Apple Pencil in the ProCreate App. What I’ve done in these works is dovetail my own research of Eastern and Western Mandala forms into an exploration of Giandomenico Tiepolo‘s Via Crucis from San Polo in Venice (Click through here to see examples of his works).
Here are 6 of the 14 images, in progress:
Stations of the Cross #6 – Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus. Digital painting, 2016-2017.
Stations of the Cross #5 – Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross. Digital painting, 2016-2017.
Stations of the Cross #13 – Jesus Removed From the Cross and His Body Returned to Mary. Digital painting, 2016-2017.
Stations of the Cross #12 – Jesus Dies on the Cross. Digital painting, 2016-2017.
Stations of the Cross #1 – Jesus Sentenced to Death. Digital painting, 2016-2017.
Stations of the Cross #14 – Entombment of Christ. Digital painting, 2016-2017.
By investigating the color and composition of Tiepolo’s work without reproducing the details, I hope to draw out the relationship these works have with the tradition of contemplative spiritual works the world over. It is also humbling to realize that the source paintings were made when Tiepolo was around 20 years old. I see these as his MFA Thesis work, definitive proof of his mastery.
Having visited these paintings in person – more than 10 years ago – I still recall how astounding they were. Not as large as Tintoretto. Not as graceful as Bellini. Not as mystical as Piero de Cosimo. Not as abstract as Uccello. But they hold their own as an expression of an artist growing into this own power and getting ready to pivot into his own realms of glory.
My aim for my versions of the Via Crucis paintings is to print them in large format (potentially to scale with their Tiepolo counterparts) then paint back into them, further developing the color and compositional shaping.
This is a challenging project. There are just the 14, if I remember correctly. Meaning only that it is limited within infinite options. My favorite was always Veronica wipes the face of Jesus….don’t know why, maybe because there is no pain directly involved.
Station 6……..Simon is the bald guy? Yes?
Over on the left. That sight line between the two people……it looks like Si-fi. Science fiction really. Seems too strong for what I see it as. A soldier telling Simon he must help! That aspect was never hilighted at my little catholic grade school. I seem to remember Simon stepping forward, coming to help, not so much being picked by
the soldier and being ordered.
It’s the hilight of the sight lines that looks…..like it’s si-fi.
Of course this whole thing centers on a guy being nearly beaten to death before being hung to die on a wooden cross. But there’s more, he comes back from the dead to save those who killed him. Pretty much sounds like si-fi…..excuse me.