Root of Jesse

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

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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.

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“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
On View
48 x 40 in. (121.9 x 101.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of an anonymous donor

  • Still life – furniture – table
  • Still life – vegetable – squash
  • Religion – New Testament – Crucifixion
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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