Thursday, April 17, 2014

foot washing Thursday

It is ironic that today, which is Maundy Thursday should end up being the day I struggle with painting the feet of Christ. "The word Maundy has a rich meaning. It comes from the word mandate. On the Thursday night before he died, Jesus gave his followers a mandate, a new commandment: "Love one another just as I have loved you"(John 13:34). On the night before he died, Jesus washed the dirty feet of his disciples before they ate the Last Supper together. It is a church tradition on Maundy Thursday to participate in the events of Christ's life by washing one another's feet in love,and then receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in communion." (Church of the Resurrection service)

I have been  working on the last of the 10 Old Testament canvases which are hanging in the narthex of my church.

Every so often, I have posted about the process of finishing this huge project. I have been taking the paintings from the church and keeping them here in my studio to continue working on them. It seems a never-ending process. It became my Lenten discipline yet again this year. And as so often happens, a Lenten discipline suffers failure, and can only be successful with the help of God Almighty.
The text for this painting is Zephaniah 3:12-20 (the theme we are emphasizing is "the gathering of God's people")
I will have to write another post about the entire painting and the composition and complicated back story and symbolism. For now, the subject is the feet of Christ. Christ is standing on the head of a snake, representing the powers of death and evil, crushed under His heel, ending the stranglehold death has on the earth. The triumphal and resurrected Christ is gathering the faithful to Him. The top half of this composition is based on a romanesque style sculptural tympanum. The bottom half is a medieval mappa mundi to show the ancient world and the history of God's care for His people.
I spent a while looking for images of feet. I had originally based the art of Christ's figure on research of the tympanum from various 10th century churches. But the feet needed some work. Finally I found these feet of Christ in the The Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio.  These were my models to work from today, and then I had to hang the painting back up in the church for the Maundy Thursday service tonight.

I am still not finished! Much more work needs to be done on this one, it has been a slow process, almost as slow as building a romanesque stone church.