Theological reflections

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Last week our guest blogger Jack Poland visited the Museum of Liverpool, this week he visited the Walker Art Gallery. Jack heard Canon Jules Gomes on Radio Merseyside's Daybreak talking about the religious art in 'A Collector's Eye: Cranach to Pissarro' and went over to take a look himself.  

Canon Jules Gomes, of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, was at the Walker Art Gallery this week in his first of four theological reflections on the Collector’s Eye: Cranach to Pissarro exhibition. The discussions took place for BBC Radio Merseyside’s Daybreak as we approach Easter, focussing on a single painting each week.

Today, I decided to follow the Canon's lead and witness the paintings for myself. Although the vast collection, which has been provided by owner David J. Lewis, covers a wide array of subjects I decided to follow Canon Gomes’ lead and focus on the religious works.

The first painting I came across, which also happened to be the first to be discussed by Canon Gomes this week, was Luis De Morales’ Ecce Homo or Behold the Man. In it, visitors can see a distinct looking Pontius Pilate revealing a forlorn Christ to an unseen crowd. As a relative novice to such works I was surprised to find that my initial response was of genuine interest and solemnity. The absence of Christ’s crown of thorns and the subsequent pain and humiliation that is expressed in his face is certainly the most striking element of the piece.  

I continued my walk around the exhibition of paintings, which have been built up in David Lewis’ collection for the last 35 years, picking out the religious works. What struck me most was the unique nature of the paintings compared to other more traditional religious images visitors are most likely to be used to.

It is clear that the collector has a keen eye for distinctive works that spans the entire exhibition as well as the religious paintings. As a self confessed new comer to such exhibitions I left with a renewed verve and would recommend all to see these paintings which are on display at the Walker until May 15 2011.

Two mean look at a paiting in an art gallery

Wayne Clarke and Canon Jules Gomes discuss the religios paintings in A Collector's Eye: Cranach to Pissarro.