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IN THOSE DAYS. CAME JOHN THE BAPTIS PREACHIN IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDAH.

ca. 1970 Josephus Farmer Born: Trenton, Tennessee 1894 Died: 1989 carved and painted redwood 14 x 34 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (35.6 x 88.3 x 3.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1997.124.62 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 24B


Luce Center Label

Josephus Farmer carved many images inspired by stories from the Bible. In this painting the center image relates to Matthew 3, in which Saint John the Baptist went into Judah to preach the word of God. Farmer depicted the moment when John baptized Jesus, and painted a symbol above Jesus’s head to represent the Holy Spirit “descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” (Matthew 3:16). This story meant a lot to the artist, whose own baptism marked a turning point in his life. The image to the right, however, shows a later scene in which John was beheaded at the request of Herod’s daughter (Matthew 14:7-10). Farmer carved images based on biblical events to encourage people to ask forgiveness from God. Perhaps the story of John inspired him because the saint preached repentance even to the powerful.

Keywords

Figure group

Figure(s) in exterior - rural

Religion - saint - St. John the Baptist

sculpture

folk art

paint

wood - redwood

About Josephus Farmer

Born: Trenton, Tennessee 1894 Died: 1989

More works in the collection by
Josephus Farmer