Jacques Iselin - The Elements of the Holy Communion

Jacques Iselin (1933- )

Oil

183 x 106.5 cm

1963

Methodist Modern Art Collection
ISE/1963

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

1 Corinthians 11: 23–26

The ‘elements’ of the Holy Communion are the bread and wine. This painting explores them and their origins. As well as the chalice of wine and the long loaf of bread, Iselin portrays wheat from which the bread is made, some mysterious, half-hidden objects, and a fish. The fish is a Christian symbol. The Greek word for fish is made up from the initial letters of the Greek words ‘Jesus, Christ, of God, the Son, Saviour’. This combines the literary aspect of the liturgy with the mysterious presence of Christ in the Communion. The rich bright background suggests the textiles often used for altar frontals or priests’ vestments at Communion services. While not a traditional representational painting, this is not an abstract work, but a symbolic, figurative exploration of the central mysteries of the Church and Christianity.

Commentary based on A Guide to the Methodist Art Collection.