Theyre Lee-Elliott - Crucified tree form - the agony

Theyre Lee-Elliott (1903-1988)

Tempera and gouache

85 x 65 cm

1959

Methodist Modern Art Collection
LEE/1963

Image Copyright © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. The Methodist Church Registered Charity no. 1132208

Matthew 27: 35–36, 38–39

Lee-Elliott’s Crucified tree form draws on a tradition dating from the thirteenth century in which the cross on which Jesus is crucified is a living tree. In this painting, he has developed the ‘living tree’ one stage further and created a crucifixion which conveys ‘the agony’ with the head and shoulders falling forward and the arms stretched up backwards, in a V. The cross, tree and body are fused into a single suffering whole. A modern touch is added with the strands of barbed wire. In fact, there is something of the First World War battlefield about the painting; the dead trees, now a familiar icon of the twentieth century, add an additional resonance to the work.

Commentary based on A Guide to the Methodist Art Collection.


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