Norman Adams (1927- 2005)

Watercolour on paper

64 cm x 64 cm


Methodist Modern Art Collection 
No. ADA/2017

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

Biblical commentary

John 19:1-5

Behold the Man can be contrasted with Adams’s Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem. Following that jubilant occasion, we see a man in the hands of his enemies.

The face of Christ was a constant theme for Adams. He had two distinct ways of portraying him: as the cosmic Christ or, as here, the man of sorrows. We see Jesus preparing for immense suffering. Beneath the flame-coloured crown of thorns, his face is imprisoned behind bars, or perhaps the cross itself. Although the colours are bright, his eyes are dark, blinded by crosses. The painting’s diamond shape resembles an opened out envelope: something to convey a message perhaps?

The Passion was a common theme for Adams for fifty years.  Early versions showed the whole Christ and were more formal. This painting is different. Here we look directly into the face of suffering - we behold the man.