I wish you and your loved ones a hope-filled Easter. May you continue to glimpse glimmers of light in the ongoing darkness.
Every Lent I try to dig deeper into the mysteries of the Christian faith. An important aspect of this is looking at how other artists, musicians and poets choose to tell the Easter story. I also do my own paintings to grapple with concepts I cannot put into words.
This year I have been particularly impacted by an Anglo-Saxon poem from around the 8th century, called “The dream of the rood”. There are many modern translations – here is one version.
The poem tells the Easter story from the perspective of the cross, with a focus on the cosmic drama that unfolds. Jesus is depicted as a heroic warrior engaged in a life and death battle for humankind’s freedom. The poet stresses both Jesus’s deity and his “weary-limbed” humanity.
I did not produce a new Good Friday painting because I felt I had already unwittingly illustrated “The dream of the rood” in 2020. Back then, I used broken glass to represent the impact of the earthquake and the tearing of the heavy temple curtain from top to bottom that is described in the biblical Good Friday stories. I did not see the figure that dominates the centre of the canvas until it was pointed out to me…
I have now glazed over the 2020 painting to put the focus on the hero. I have called this latest version “Freedom fighter”.
Is this now my final version of Good Friday? It may depend on whether the canvas can cope with further upcycling. It was first used to explore the Easter story in 2011…