20th Century
The Crucifixion

Oil on canvas, signed and dated 1948 lower right
Image size: 29 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches (75 x 55 cm)
Contemporary hand made frame

 

See below for more information and a framed image.

 

This brilliant, but undeniably wacky, scene of the crucifixion exercises Martin’s skill and sense of composition to the fullest extent. This surrealist approach to the religious scene is unusual and has few comparisons. Dali famously recreated the crucifixion in his 1954 surrealist work ‘ Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)’ and perhaps this was used by Martin as inspiration. Comparatively, the golden sky hints at the traditional byzantine scenes of the Crucifixion that heavily employed gold leaf. Stylistic influence has also clearly been taken from the distinctive artistic style of Stanley Spencer and from the artist’s own time as a cartoon artist.

Here we see christ is at the centre of the scene with his head fallen to his chest, blood running down his face from his crown of thorns. Flanking either side of Christ are the two thieves who, according to the Bible, was crucified at the same time. Instead of the traditional chorus of angels that surround Christ, the scene is full of agitated Roman soldiers identifiable by their red cloaks, some in obvious states of lamentation. It is probable that the figures with their halos stood directly either side of Christ are Saint Jerome and John the Evangelist.

The Artist

George F Martin lived and worked in Dundee. He was primarily a comic artist and worked extensively for the humour titles published by DC Thomson from the 1950s throughout the 1980s. He is also well-know for the long-running comic strip ‘Bunion’, that was syndicated in newspapers throughout Britain and abroad in the 1960s and 1970s.

Martin drew mainly for DC Thomson’s humour titles. Some of the strips he worked on were featured in The Dandy, The Topper and The Beezer.