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April 25, 2010


I like the conception a lot -- for example, the way you gave Judas a hill instead of a halo, and the whole two natures idea. The composition is good, too, I think. The amin problem to my eye is that Judas' head is so much larger than Jesus'.

I like this for so many reasons. Powerful, intriguing, stylised. The satisfying repetition of lines and shapes without their ever becoming just decorative pattern. Interesting to see the development from the drawing, where the shapes and composition are lovely, but it's all a lot more gentle and derivative. The overall effect is disturbing, sad and contemplative.

Thanks for those comments, Dave. The head problem is a typical beginning-printmaker-problem: I accidentally created the outline for Judas' head on the outside rather than inside (or even in the middle) of the edge I had drawn, which moved it out 1/8 inch. And there's no way to fix something like that once you've done it except to start over.

Thanks, Jean. I'm glad it works for you. If I were to do it again I'd fix the face and add solid dark on the right of Judas too - maybe a hooded cloak? - to further frame Jesus and emphasize the dual nature thing. This medium offers so many expressive possibilities, I think it's worth exploring at length, and enduring the disappointments of mistakes - and I love that it's not entirely predictable. Cutting with vigor creates a much more livelier line, but it also means you can't be too careful.

Wow. The lino has a completely different atmosphere than the drawing -- much more powerful, to me. The somewhat prettified Latin Jesus becomes the more difficult and (paradoxically, but I've always felt this) both stiffer and more human Orthodox Jesus. I actually like the way Judas looms in the lino; I'd call it a happy accident. Putting him *behind* Jesus is disturbing: it suggests to my mind that he really knows more than Jesus does about what's going on here. (As he does perhaps on the literal level, but surely shouldn't on the allegorical?) Anyway, I think the image is incredible, arresting.

Good comments here! The drawing is delicate and almost pretty compared to the linoprint which is strong, emotionally powerful, and quite successful for a first attempt, Beth. So wonderful to see your artmaking and to read about your thoughts of the process! Indeed one could do a series and see how the image develops with more skill in cutting, but this really is dramatic, even Judas peering behind like this, as Dale said. The black and white contributes to the drama as well. If you really get into this, you might even try a colour reduction print and see how that changes the feel... just a thought. I'd love to see more!

Beth, I think this is a very disturbing image, like a dream. I like the distortion of Judas' head in equal proportion to that of Jesus' hand. It says something about the Teacher and the Betrayer but a lot less about the ontological self of the Christ, which raises all kinds of interesting theological and psychological questions. (I think this could be the start of a lot of interesting treatments of the Stations, if you felt you had nothing else to do....)

Dale, I'm glad you reacted positively to the print. See below for more on the Judas-behind-Jesus part.

Marja-Leena, I really appreciate your encouragement, it means a lot coming from you! Doing a series of explorations is definitely in the back of my mind, though I'm not sure I want to do it with this image - see below. I'll look into color reduction prints; I know they're possible but not how to plan the sequence.

Thanks for your reaction, Pica. The distortion of the hand was at least intentional, and I think it adds to the multilayered aspects of the image. Yes, the ontological questions about Christ aren't central here, even though it's one of the Stations. I guess that's because as I worked with the image I kept coming back to the two men as friends, since that's what Jesus called the disciples the night before - at some point they must have been close friends, or in a very close relationship as teacher and disciple. The rending of that fabric is, it seems to me, a very human thing and on which isn't dealt with in the gospels. Jesus the man, with his back turned, somehow doesn't want to see the face of his betrayer and former friend even though he knows what's coming.

Of course the thought of working on all the Stations did occur to me but I don't think I've got the interest or emotional investment required. But Marja-Leena's suggestion of a series is one I've thought of too; if I do that it will probably be one of the mythological subjects that have been rattling around in my subconscious for decades!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.