My work attempts to depict the pain and suffering involved within the passion story, through the innocence of a child. I wanted to mirror the powerful expression conveyed by Bach in his piece, "Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder", which translates to, 'With tears, we leave thee'.
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What interests me is how the story of the Passion is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. The struggle that is occurring in Syria exemplifies some of the themes in the life of Jesus, namely sacrifice, sorrow and redemption. There is a corrupt brutal dictator that many people are fighting knowing that it will cost them their own lives. Soldiers of the Government are being ordered to kill their own people, sometimes even from their own village, and are refusing to do so and joining the resistance. From the pictures i have seen on the news children are a prevalent force in the resistance many of them protesting with their faces painted with the national flag and symbols of freedom. I chose to depict the classic mother and child with the mother crying at the fate of her son but knowing that in his death other children can live.
"The Place Of The Skull"
Bach’s St. Matthew Passion inspired me with a sense of time. Taking historic cues from the narrative Bach’s work was about, I chose to paint a scene in which a child represents the idea of a life cycle and rebirth. These themes of time are reiterated with the archaic landscape and Renaissance color palette that hearken to Jesus’ era, and contrasted with the modern additions of detail. I created an image that shows that ideas and belief transcend time, that the lives and stories of the past are carried in the collective history of memory.
"The Suffering of the Lamb"
After listening to St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach, I was inspired by the swelling of powerful music and the imagery conveyed. I decided to depict Christ as a lamb and he is in a field of vegetation, but chooses to suffer by eating the sharp thorns. The scene is mostly desaturated blues and purples, with the exception of the warmth of the blood the lamb is standing by.
In the Bible, the Last Supper is described as the last meal Jesus Christ had with his disciples before he was crucified. During the Last Supper, Jesus tells the twelve apostles that one of them would betray him. This is the scene I have drawn. After he tells the apostles this, they all seem uneasy while Jesus calmly breaks the loaf of bread.
I am very familiar with the story behind the passion, so I wanted to abstract it in my own way based off my reaction to the music. Lilies represent the symbol of virtue and the Virgin Mary. I enjoyed abstracting the imagery of the thorn crown with musical wavelengths to create the border.
I drew this piece to embody the main themes of St. Matthew Passion, Inhumanity, Reluctance, Fear, and Pain. I used the form of a snake to embody the narrative nature of the piece, and also for it’s inherent christian symbology.
After listening to the St. Matthew Passion, my initial reaction was how a text that is Biblical canon for one person could sound so over-the-top for another. My piece is an excessively pious spoof of Bach's persona showing him as a Baroque-stye cherub.
I was mostly inspired by the movement and mystical qualities of the music which led me to read the translation of the text. The imagery of blood is something that really struck me and I just thought of the moment of the Passion as a sort of musical crescendo. The way the blood in my piece flows through the piece is like the musical notes of a scale slowing building up to the moment of ultimate truth and beauty.
* Selected to be displayed in Symphony Hall during Bach St. Matthew Passion concerts March 30 and April 1, 2012.