Graphite on gessoed wood
Overlarge eyes, bugged out in hatred. A knobby head twisted back in a howl of outrage. Pursed lips set in stubborn skepticism. A sideways glance of studied indifference. Clenched fists. Fingers splayed like claws. Scotland-based Artist Peter Howson presents a cartoonish vision of humanity at its worst in this pencil study of the Passion, which hearkens back to the gallery of grotesques in Renaissance Artist Hieronymus Bosch’s painting of Christ Carrying the Cross. Entangled body parts and drapery folds seem to swirl around the square panel like jetsam, caught in an ever building maelstrom of violence and evil. But this center holds. Jesus, the supposed imposter, the rejected prophet, and despised scapegoat for the failed expectations of his people--and of all peoples in all ages--commands our attention as a fixed point in the churning vortex. Viewed full-faced in the style of iconic images, Christ, alone, in this claustrophobic hell stares out at us with a look of pained love and compassionate understanding. Howson has masterfully redesigned traditional imagery of the Man of Sorrows for a modern culture supersaturated with brutality and violence.