Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Praying Saviour

Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka (1853, Kisszeben - 1919, Budapest)
Praying Saviour 1903
Oil on canvas, 100 x 82 cm
Janus Pannonius Museum, Pécs

"The angular figure of the Saviour is standing in the middle isolated from everything and everybody. He is raising up his hands as if praying or preaching. The group of the twelve apostles are looking out of the picture.

Dr. Rezső Pertorini, author of the Csontváry pathogaph, grouped them as people shouting, "Crucify him," as if they were a choir in a Greek tragedy.

Faces are suggestive, those of the Saviour and Moses are expressive. The picture condenses events.

Moses is standing with stone tablets on the left. The silhouette of a town can be seen in the background, it is Jerusalem.

On the right, there is a thin tree with a block of stone at its foot with two black figures on it.

Behind the tree, there is a modern church which is lit: it can be approached on a steep slope.

Next to it, there are three columns with winged sculptures and a domed building on the left. A group of people are approaching the church.

The picture has a complicated and symbolic message, in fact, the painter attempted to sum up the History of Christianity. He portrayed the Old Testament on the left and the New Testament on the right: the former being represented by Moses and the tablets of the Decalogue, and the New Testament by Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the disciples,

The tree symbolises the Cross, and the mourners with a stone suggests a grave. There are symbolic objects and scenes on both sides. The background stretches out to the distance."

Commentary from the website of Fine Arts in Hungary