Patrick Noon

Baudelaire describes Delacroix’s religious paintings as blood, light and darkness in that there is sort of certain that combines blood, light and darkness.

Christ’s body just radiates light out of this darkness and there is this incredible glow of flesh and you know the idea of it being that dark and that his body is so bright, just it creates an extraordinary sense of space, but yes the three crosses are on the hill in the background with a little bit of light behind him but it’s essentially a nocturnal scene. And that red, the red we are seeing is really sober note. It was Gautier, Théophile Gautier, the poet says of the red of St. John’s Cloak, a lot of critics were highly critical of that, and yet he writes that the garish red in this otherwise muted color harmony invest the entire canvas with great sorrow.

Baudelaire writes of the most remarkable of the artist’s qualities, this is what he says, the most remarkable of the artist’s qualities and that which makes him the true painter of the 19th Century. He is unrivalled at expressing not merely suffering, but above all moral suffering, and here lies the prodigious mystery of his painting. The poses and the gestures of the Marys are so evocative of this great melancholy suffering that isn’t physical, it has to do with psychological and spiritual suffering.

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