It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, and said, "Certainly this man was innocent!" And all the multitudes who assembled to see the sight, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance and saw these things. (Luke 23: 44-49)
Matthias Grunewald, Isenheimer Altar
The Isenheimer Alter executed for a hospital chapel in the French Provence of Alsace.
Lucas Cranach the Younger (an alterpiece)
Look carefully at this painting. You might discover that the most prominent of the figures gathered at the foot of the cross is Martin Luther. Just as Luther, Christ and others are made contemporary to us by the word and sacraments.
William Johnson, Mount Calvary
Artists often paint reflecting the community they are in. For example, Florentine artists painted Italians at the foot of Christ's cross. Here Johnson depicts his African American community as the Biblical figures.
Edvard Munch, Golgotha
Munch paints death as transforming of not only Christ but also the onlookers at the foot of the cross, whose faces seem as least as skeletal and spectral as his. He was painting in 1900 when many were seeking scientific answers such as Darwinism and others were taking secular approaches to traditional religious motifs. Munch has chosen to paint this anguished scene in a modern rural setting to help us relate the story to our daily life.