The unanswered questions in the painting of “Golgotha” amaze me. It has these features that would strike anyone who knows a thing or two about painting, the mystical yet grisly features. It is combination of worldly impermanence and divine eternity; depicting the dismal site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion at the Golgotha, “Place of Skull. This painting was done by Ilya Repin in 1922, a Russia-Ukrainian painter who lived between 1844 and 1930. The Painting of Golgotha is an oil painting with the dimensions of 6′ x 8′. Despite the fact that it is sullenly real in its theme, a beauty springs through a thin-skinned blending of textured wishy-washy hues that contrasts with the dark shadows. There is so much about this mysterious painting, in its mist-enshrouded shadows, there are profound messages.
In the history of art, this marvelous piece has its special place-it belongs to a world in between Impression and pragmatism; technically, it’s also a representation of Expressionism. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is painted in this indistinct manner, in the painting, the dogs are elatedly sipping up the blood on the soil, as it is a characteristic of any dog, this brings out the aspect of realism. At this point, no obvious religious glorification is seen but the gloomy morning that follows the crucifixion. The complementary colours (blues and golden purple blend) are in contradiction with the dull aura of the bodies hanging on the crosses. Thus, clearly brings out the Expressionism bit of it. In this painting, the use of color allegory with the luminosity effect makes the viewers to sink their teeth into the larger meaning of the painting and see the signs of Christ’s renaissance.
It is thought that this oil painting was done on the back of linoleum (a coarse canvas-like material) or burlap. In some parts, the threads are disheveled and appear to join together with the weighty paint touch on top. Other than just a few cracks in the heavy paint, a little scratch on the surface; the painting remains attractive and in good state. In general, the style remains in-explicit facilitated by the beautiful shimmering soft brushstrokes inducing light all the way through. Closely looking at the paint, you notice fuzzy color blends in the surface of paint- resulting into a mystery and intriguing impression for the observer to look underneath its surface. The parody of silhouettes through the brushstrokes adds to the realism that it is not easy to see details plainly at this faintly lit time of day, more like a dawn.
In this painting, you see that figures crops out of the painting. At the fallen cross, there are jagged built-up shade texture originating, moving on the direction of a shadowy figure on the distant right of the canvas. Moving up, the image is heaviest around the mystifying stairways right above the cave towards the rising light. However, you notices a change in the in the texture around the lighted areas into cloud like moulds. Shadowy shapes are evident, there is a rough-edged shape attached to the fallen cross with the sign on it. The writing on the sign is blurred.
Staring from the last dog in the backdrop, there is a horizon line which cuts the paint nearly half way; this directs the eye to the orange glow in the cavern.
The center of attention crafts a historical narrative of Christ’s crucifixion as two men remain lynching on the crosses, at a point where Jesus’ empty cross has fallen. A lot of unanswered questions crop up because of the “unseen” that leaves the viewers with the task to solve the mystery.
The glow within of the cave doorway could probably signify the soul of Christ, or projecting the future. Also, a dog in the foreground is calmly looking at the view as the others sap up the blood. Finally, there is a dark figure to the right edge of the canvas appearing like they are rushing in the course of the stairway over the cave. Is this someone escaping in anguish? Is this Jesus Christ?