Graham Sutherland, 'Study for the Crucifixion'

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We look at Graham Sutherland’s ‘Study for the Crucifixion’ painted shortly after the end of World War II. It is a contemporary ‘Crucifixion’ for the modern age, alluding to a suffering Christ in our present times. There is no depth of field, just unspecified time and space. The lack of depth evokes the timeless significance of Christ’s death upon the Cross.

However, it also clear that Sutherland was deeply affected by the victims of the Holocaust and his representation of Christ is not only a reminder of the physical suffering of millions of Jewish peoples but also the horror of war itself.

Sutherland was also influenced by Francis Bacon, who himself often depicted the distortion of the human form. While Sutherland’s religious paintings may have been unconventional and often controversial, his artistic vision was and still is completely ground breaking and extremely relevant to the 21st Century.