Did You Know?
If you're unsure of the figures surrounding the crucifixion, it's often guaranteed to include at least the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. However, Masaccio's 'Holy Trinity' also includes two figures who aren't part of the Crucifixion story. Can you spot them on the far left and right? Their names are not known, but we can gather that they are husband and wife and were the donors for the painting due to their inclusion in the scene. They are in profile and kneel on a level below that of the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist, signifying that they belong in a realm below that of the spiritual. Beneath them is a far darker image - a skeleton lies in a tomb with an inscription above stating "I once was what you are and what I am you also will be". This is at eye-level to the viewer and acts as a memento mori - a reminder of death!
How do artists interpret the Easter story in the 20th and into the 21st Century? Opening just in time for the Easter weekend is 'Bruce Onobrakpeya: The Mask and the Cross' at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Born in 1932, Bruce Onobrakpeya is considered one of the founders of Nigerian modernism. He creates prints and paintings which combine Nigerian folklore with Catholic stories and motifs. On display in this exhibition is his 'Fourteen Stations of the Cross' in which he depicts the Biblical story of the crucifixion, but reimagined with Nigerian characters and in a Nigerian setting.