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Holy Week Paintings

This series of five paintings follows the journey of the five services of Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Each one reflects upon one particular service, but all five are held together visually by an overarching theme. You will see rolling clouds that range from light to dark, following the narrative progression of the story, and elements of gold that represent God’s holy intent as we move through this deepest act of his love for us. 

 

Palm Sunday

This painting begins lighter on the left hand side and moves into darkness. The archway suggests stepping into the next chapter of something, as Palm Sunday is a day filled with anticipation for what Jesus has come to do. However, the reality of what’s to come is very unlike anything the Jews had hoped–Jesus is about to descend into lowly death, not ascend into earthly power. The inverted palm alludes to this reversal of our expectations, and the darkness beyond the archway and the droplet hint at what’s to come. The gold linework around the archway is incomplete, another nod to the anticipation of imminent events. 

 

Maundy Thursday

This piece is markedly darker than the previous, and features drops descending to the bottom of the composition. These are symbolic of several things–Jesus’s offering of wine to his disciples, the allusion to his blood about to be shed, the washing of his disciples’ feet as a mark of service to be modeled, and Jesus’s sweat which became blood at the Garden of Gethsemane. The ripples indicate how his acts of service at the passover meal–the washing of feet and his sacrificial love embodied for us in the communion offered–are to be extended to the world by his followers. 

 

Good Friday

This is the darkest painting in the series, as it is the one representing Christ’s crucifixion. On Good Friday, we look to the cross and how we have paved the way to Christ’s death on our behalf. The three nails in the composition represent the three denials of Peter, and how we in our fickleness also turn away from God, repeatedly. The linen veil alludes to Jesus’s presence on the cross, but also in its tearing apart in the lower right hand side references the torn veil of the temple at the point of his death. This thin veil continues into the next frame, which represents the redemption we are about to encounter. 

 

Holy Saturday

This piece is the most abstract of the set, as Holy Saturday is a day of deep mystery and confusion for Christ’s followers, when they have no clear understanding of what is to come and are riddled with the grief of loss. But through that fog and darkness comes a thread of hope which brightens into light as the painting progresses to the right, and as we move into Easter morning. The gold linework in this piece is also a nod to the Japanese practice of kintsugi, which is an intentional craft of mending broken pottery in a way that makes the cracks visible and highlights them as a source of beauty in the end product. This is a metaphor for God’s merciful intent for our story–that he restores what we have broken, and in doing so magnifies his deep and beautiful love for us. Christ also returns not without scars, and in fact points to his wounds as a means of magnifying the story. 

Easter Sunday

This piece shows a sun lifting out of dark depths, representing Christ’s return and coming out of the tomb. Its rising movement also suggests his eventual further ascension after Easter to be with the Father. The beams of light and the gold framing around the circular sun are a visual nod to the halo motif seen in many iconographic paintings, pointing to Christ’s holiness and his sovereignty. 

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