Eularia Clarke - The five thousand

Eularia Clarke (1914-1970)

Oil

65 x 62 cm

1962

Methodist Modern Art Collection
CLA/1965/1

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

Matthew 14:13-21

Eularia Clarke sets the feeding of the five thousand in modern dress and follows Matthew’s account in which women and children are present. The multitude has sat down in the grass, as Jesus requested, and is eating, not the fish and bread referred to in the Bible but, as in so much of Clarke’s work, a twentieth Century equivalent, fish and chips. The scene is more reminiscent of a church picnic than the biblical miracle. Tea is brewing in the lower right corner, bicycles and footballs are discarded, children and babies are remarkably well behaved, some people doze, others pay attention to the priest – or Jesus (whose head and shoulders are uncomfortably cut off by the edge of the painting). The artist said: ‘I daren’t paint Christ, I put in a pulpit, the priest is reading the notices before the sermon.’

Commentary based on A Guide to the Methodist Art Collection.