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Spencer, Stanley - 1958 The Crucifixion



Type of Spiritual Experience


In 1958 Spencer painted The Crucifixion which was set in Cookham High Street and first displayed in Cookham Church. The painting employed a similar composition and viewpoint to an earlier painting, The Scarecrow, Cookham (1934) but with the two gargoyle-like carpenters nailing Christ to the cross and a screaming crucified thief, was by far the most violent of all Spencer's paintings.


The Art and Vision of Stanley Spencer - Kenneth Pople

There were times when Stanley's feelings about an experience or concept grew so intense that he could match them visually only by exaggerating his shapes beyond normality. He would find himself subconsciously elasticizing them and the spaces between them - in other words, distorting them.  Such figures, scorning spatial subtleties and seemingly shouting, 'Look at me!' - as no doubt they did to Stanley on the day he conjured them - frequently force themselves boldly on the canvas and thus take on their so-called 'funny' appearance. They and their detail become more quirky to the eye, and the paintings acquire the character of a 'Stanley Spencer'. As a general rule we can say that the more distorted the detail in a picture, the more intense the feeling .

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Spencer, Stanley

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