Friday, March 29, 2013

Carl Bloch, Painter of Christ's Life and Passion

Carl Bloch is a Danish painter well known for his exquisite religious paintings. Bloch was born in 1843 in Copenhagen, Denmark. His parents were like most of any era, they were not keen on him studying art and hoped that he might become an officer in the Navy. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art where is artwork garnered him a silver medal and eventually the opportunity to travel and study art. In the 1850's Bloch was able to travel to many European countries. The work of Rembrandt was a major influence on his art and this is very evident in his pictures.

Bloch received a commission to paint the life of Christ from J.C. Jacobsen who was a brewer. This project took him fourteen years and had a great impact on him both personally and artistically. Bloch was commissioned to paint 23 pictures for the Praying Chamber. He also painted eight altar pieces during his lifetime. His pictures of Christ are considered among the best ever painted and are my personal favourites. I enjoy Bloch's paintings because they make Christ more personal and are helpful for meditation.

The ones I love the best are those of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.In this image below of Christ with the soldier, Bloch captures the hatred and insolence of the soldier as he mocks Christ crowned with thorns.

Christ's crucifixion and his burial capture the horror of these moments, Mary prostrate at the foot of the cross, while John weeps inconsolably.

These paintings deal with Christ resurrected and when he meets the apostles on the road to Emaus.

In addition to his religious paintings, Bloch also painted landscapes and portraits. However, second only to his religious paintings were his beautiful etchings which captured the deep emotions of the passion of Christ. Among his most moving is the etching of Peter weeping over his denial of Christ.

Bloch died in 1890 of cancer.

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