Crucified Jesus

Jamini Roy painting of Jesus crucified

Jamini Roy was probably the first artist to depict Christ in an Indian vocabulary. He was looking to test the effectiveness of his bold line and flat colour technique on a subject which was remote from his personal life. Being an orthodox Hindu who had never read the old or new testaments, Roy saw the depiction of Christ as the perfect opportunity. He studied ancient Christian iconography and photo reproductions of renaissance masters and declared his aim to convey the essential human characteristics of Christ through symbolism. The figure of Christ in his paintings were painted in his characteristic style- almond eyes, sharp chips, a voluminous body. Painted in earthy colours of maroon, orange and brown, these images were perhaps the first popular renditions of Christ in strict Indian vocabulary.

The Crucifixion and the Last Supper were his most used narratives. The peculiar aspect of the Crucifixion paintings is that they are devoid of any suffering generally seen in Christian iconography. Instead, Christ’s face is tender and looks at the viewer, directly causing a sense of powerful discomfort. Jamini Roy created several paintings and drawings on the theme of ‘Crucifixion’. In this painting, the textured background surface adds another layer of depth to the painting by giving it a mosaic-tile like appearance. The colour palette of dark brown, black, white and yellow is in keeping with the solemn theme being represented, with slight relief due to the use of red in certain parts of the painting. Overall, the painting has a very strong and forbearing theme.

Click here to read more on the artists from the Bengal School of Art.

Crucified Jesus
Jamini Roy
Tempera on woven bamboo mat
H: 91 cm x W: 69.5 cm
Accession No.