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Christ Carrying the Cross by Elijah Pierce / American Art
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Christ Carrying the Cross

ca. 1972 Elijah Pierce Born: Baldwyn, Mississippi 1892 Died: Columbus, Ohio 1984 carved, painted and varnished wood with glitter mounted on painted corrugated cardboard with paper collage, painted stones and glitter 24 3/4 x 20 x 7/8 in. (62.9 x 50.8 x 2.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.260 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 24B



Luce Center Quote

“I enjoy [religious work] the most. You know, some great writer once said, ‘One picture is worth a thousand words.’ And I thought of the book, The Bible: one picture is worth a thousand of those words! So my mind just went thatta way.” The artist, quoted in Elijah Pierce Wood Carver, The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, 1973, exhibition catalogue

Luce Center Label

Elijah Pierce described his carvings as sermons, and used them to teach people about the Bible (Elijah Pierce Wood Carver, The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, 1973, exhibition catalogue). This carving shows Christ with the cross just before he was crucified. Pierce filled the image with swirling colors and gesturing figures to evoke the crowds of people who witnessed Jesus’s crucifixion, although it is difficult to tell whether they are cheering or weeping over his impending death.

Keywords

Figure(s) in exterior - religious

Religion - angel

Religion - New Testament - Christ

Religion - New Testament - Crucifixion

sculpture

folk art

paper

paperboard

readymade

wood

About Elijah Pierce

Born: Baldwyn, Mississippi 1892 Died: Columbus, Ohio 1984

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