Suffering Christ

  • Victor Joseph Gatto, Suffering Christ, late 1930s, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.114

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Victor Joseph Gatto was not particularly religious, but he painted several fantasy images based on characters from the Bible. He used tiny brushes to build up thick layers of color, giving his subjects a glowing, otherworldly quality. He painted Adam and Eve at the moment of temptation, when Eve hands the apple to Adam; the flat, empty landscape beyond suggests the figures are standing on the edge of Eden. In Suffering Christ, Gatto depicted Jesus just before the crucifixion. The figure’s vivid red hair and pale skin emphasize the blood flowing from his forehead and chest, while his calm expression disguises his pain.

Title
Suffering Christ
Artist
Date
late 1930s
On View
Dimensions
15 3/8 x 13 1/4 in. (39.0 x 33.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • State of being – emotion – pain
  • Religion – New Testament – Christ
Object Number
1986.65.114
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

after 1938
oil on canvas mounted on painted wood panel

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