Head of Christ, 1937, Georges Rouault, The Cleveland Museum of Art.


Reacting against an increasingly materialistic, secular society, Rouault dedicated himself to creating deeply spiritual art. To convey his emotional interpretation of the subject, he built up layers of rich color through thickly encrusted paint. Rouault’s early experience in a stained-glass workshop encouraged his preference for luminous color and strong black outlines. Both elements unite in this painting to produce a powerful, yet serene image of Christ.  It was not until 1937 that Rouault’s reputation took a great stride forward: forty two paintings, all in a style which was relatively ‘new’ for the critics and public but long established so far as the artist himself was concerned, were shown as part of the large ‘Exposition des Artistes Independents’, staged in connection with the Paris Exposition Universelle.



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