Root of Jesse

  • Steve Hawley, Root of Jesse, 1985-1986, oil and alkyd on linen, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of an anonymous donor, 1987.8, © 1986, Steve Hawley

Luce Center Label

Steve Hawley creates expressive still lifes and interiors, and often incorporates images of his own paintings and sketches into the compositions. Here, a jagged piece of paper showing a crucifix appears taped to the wall behind a table of fruit. Hawley does not consider his work to be devotional, but uses symbols like the crucifix to “explore and resolve” his personal questions about Christianity. The detailed image of the fruit reflected in the shiny tabletop creates a sense of stillness that contrasts with the passion and vigor expressed by the painting in the background.

Luce Object Quote

“The paintings within paintings represent the multiple stages of reality. I’m fascinated with the interplay of the physical and the spiritual, the classical and the abstract, the past and the present.” Steve Hawley, n.d.

Root of Jesse
48 x 40 in. (121.9 x 101.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of an anonymous donor

Mediums Description
oil and alkyd on linen
  • Religion – New Testament – Crucifixion
  • Still life – vegetable – squash
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More Artworks from the Collection