Sunday, April 24, 2011
Considering The Lillies Of The Field For Easter
Here is another evocative painting from the "program" (actually a hardcover book) for MGM's epic Ben-Hur. Ben Stahl—an acclaimed artist and illustrator for such publications as Esquire and The Saturday Evening Post who used layered and glazed acrylics and oils to striking effect— was commissioned by MGM to paint several pieces as a promotion/celebration of their screen spectacle. Included in the series of paintings was this powerful portrayal of the Sermon of the Mount. The painting's staging is consistent with the portrayal of Jesus in the film, for Ben-Hur famously never shows the face of the Christ; instead, the audience is most often shown only the back of Jesus, portrayed by the uncredited Claude Heater. (The 1902 stage version of the story took an even more stylized approach by portraying Christ with only a beam of light.) Though this dramatic artwork does not specifically portray a Resurrection scene, its simple yet dynamic beauty is more than appropriate for Easter Sunday.