Graham Sutherland (1903-1980)

Oil on canvas

50 x 45 cm


Methodist Modern Art Collection
No. SUT/1963

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

Biblical commentary

John 19: 38–42

Jesus is conveyed schematically, almost abstractly, lying across a tomb. Behind stands the cross at the centre of a gap in a wall. Two strips of linen run in a gentle loop from the ends of the wall, either to, or behind, the cross. Jesus’ body forms a concave arc, lying unsupported on top of the lidless tomb, his legs resting on the tomb’s edge on one side and his shoulders on the other. His head, which is totally abstracted in a featureless semi-circular or semi-spherical form, falls back horizontally. A cloth wrapped around his feet falls in a wide, low loop under his body, secured at one end under his left shoulder. The cool blues and greys of the painting are central to the effect it produces on the viewer, creating an unemotional, calm and detached mood.

Commentary based on A Guide to the Methodist Art Collection.