Yeames and his circle - Edgar Bundy
'The Word' 1898
Edgar Bundy (1862 - 1922)
Oil on canvas, 76.5 x 127.6
A group of Puritans are discussing the correct interpretation of a passage from the Bible, the 'Word of God'. Opponents of the 17th century Puritans claimed that their reliance on the Bible and contempt for the traditional teachings of the church resulted in anarchy. This scene is intended to show uneducated Puritans vainly trying to agree on the meaning of the Bible. The man on the far left sits in an attitude of exhaustion and exasperation, no doubt at the length and inconclusiveness of the debate.
The element of caricature is part of Bundy's style, but it is also intended to ridicule the Puritans as exponents of the Word of God. He also, however, painted flirtatious and carousing Cavaliers. Bundy was self-taught and this shows in his strange colour harmony and exaggerated gestures. He has, however, captured the strangeness, the medievalism and remoteness of the Puritan world.