The Savior

  • Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Savior, ca. 1900-1905, oil on canvas mounted to plywood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Robbins, 1983.95.191

Luce Center Label

The story of Christ’s crucifixion occupied Henry Ossawa Tanner’s mind throughout his career. The Savior shows Jesus meditating as he waits for his crown of thorns and purple robe, in which he would be mocked as the “King of the Jews.” Tanner portrayed him as a real person in contemplation and prayer rather than as an idealized figure. But the yellow color in his face and outlining his profile is like a glowing light that suggests Christ’s uniqueness as a spiritual being, able to transcend flesh and blood.

The Savior
ca. 1900-1905
On View
29 1/8 x 21 3/4 in. (73.9 x 55.3 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Robbins

Mediums Description
oil on canvas mounted to plywood
  • Portrait male – Christ
  • Religion – New Testament – Christ
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection