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Christ As The Man Of Sorrows By Jacobello Del Bonomo20190417

For Muslim journalist and commentator Abdul-Rehman Malik, when it came to selecting a painting at the National Gallery for his Essay, his choice had everything to do with skin colour: Christ as the Man of Sorrows by the 14th century Italian painter Jacobello del Bonomo is brown, rather than white and blue-eyed like so many other depictions of Jesus in Western art. Abdul-Rehman’s joy over this discovery proved short-lived – but the painting prompted him to reflect on how Jesus is seen in Islam, and how he as a Muslim, who does not believe that Christ died on the cross, can relate to this image of suffering.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

Image © National Gallery by kind permission.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, Muslim journalist Abdul-Rehman Malik discovers a brown Christ.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

Christ Before Pilate By The Master Of Cappenberg20190416

The writer Kit de Waal grew up a Jehovah’s Witness, and it was not a happy experience for her. The painting at the National Gallery she has chosen for her Essay is the 16th-century Christ Before Pilate by the Master of Cappenberg, sometimes identified as Jan Baegert. It captures the moment when Pilate, the Roman prefect, tries to wash his hands of his part in the death of Christ. For Kit, this is a poignant reminder of the sense of not passing muster in God’s eyes which she was carrying for much of her life – and a chain of ritual disavowals running through her own family history.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

Image © National Gallery by kind permission.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, writer Kit de Waal reflects on Pilate's dilemma.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

The writer Kit de Waal grew up a Jehovah’s Witness, and it was not a happy experience for her. The painting at the National Gallery she has chosen for her Essay is the 16th century Christ Before Pilate by the Master of Cappenberg, sometimes identified as Jan Baegert. It captures the moment when Pilate, the Roman prefect, tries to wash his hands of his part in the death of Christ. For Kit, this is a poignant reminder of the sense of not passing muster in God’s eyes which she was carrying for much of her life – and a chain of ritual disavowals running through her own family history.

Christ Crowned With Thorns By Dirk Bouts20190415

Born to devout Sikh parents, the writer Sathnam Sanghera (best known for his memoir, The Boy With The Topknot, which became an acclaimed BBC Two drama) had a profound sense of anticlimax when he stood in front of his chosen painting at the National Gallery, Christ Crowned With Thorns by the 15th century Netherlandish painter Dirk Bouts. Yet on closer scrutiny, the image started to move him – and for his Essay, it opened up surprising insights into his own Sikh heritage and how much the Christian and Sikh artistic traditions have in common.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

Image: Workshop of Dirk Bouts, ‘Christ Crowned with Thorns’, about 1470-5 © The National Gallery, London

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, Sikh writer Sathnam Sanghera encounters the suffering Christ.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

The Crucifixion By The Master Of Delft20190418

The writer and filmmaker Sheila Hayman runs writing workshops for survivors of torture, and when she set about choosing a painting for her Essay at the National Gallery, she thought she would be drawn to an image of physical torment. But the image that attracted her was the 16th-century Crucifixion by the Master of Delft in the Netherlands. Telling the entire story from Christ’s trial to his resurrection, and bursting with colour, detail and busyness, the painting still shows the suffering of Christ – but all around him, life goes on. Ultimately, Sheila concludes, it speaks of resurrection rather than death, as do the stories of those torture survivors – and her own Jewish refugee father.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

Image © National Gallery by kind permission.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, writer Sheila Hayman views a life-affirming Crucifixion scene.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

The writer and film-maker Sheila Hayman runs writing workshops for survivors of torture, and when she set about choosing a painting for her Essay at the National Gallery, she thought she would be drawn to an image of physical torment. But the image that attracted her was the 16th-century Crucifixion by the Master of Delft in the Netherlands. Telling the entire story from Christ’s trial to his resurrection, and bursting with colour, detail and busyness, the painting still shows the suffering of Christ – but all around him, life goes on. Ultimately, Sheila concludes, it speaks of resurrection rather than death, as do the stories of those torture survivors – and her own Jewish refugee father.

The Incredulity Of St Thomas By Guercino20190419

A novelist and historian still in her 20s, Chibundu Onuzo grew up a Christian in Lagos before moving to boarding school in England as a teenager. For her Essay, she has chosen the National Gallery’s The Incredulity of St Thomas by the 17th-century Italian painter, Guercino, because Thomas, the disciple who said he would not believe unless he could put his fingers into Christ’s wounds, is a kindred spirit to her. At boarding school in darkest Winchester, when most of her peers fell away from their Christian faith, their critical questions made her doubt her own beliefs too.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

Image © National Gallery by kind permission.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

Nigerian novelist Chibundu Onuzo contemplates doubting Thomas at the National Gallery.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

A novelist and historian still in her 20s, Chibundu Onuzo grew up a Christian in Lagos before moving to boarding school in England as a teenager. For her Essay, she has chosen the National Gallery’s The Incredulity of St Thomas by the 17th-century Italian painter Guercino – because Thomas, the disciple who said he would not believe unless he could put his fingers into Christ’s wounds, is a kindred spirit to her. At boarding school in ‘darkest Winchester’, when most of her peers fell away from their Christian faith, their critical questions made her doubt her own beliefs too.

01Christ Crowned With Thorns By Dirk Bouts20190415

Born to devout Sikh parents, the writer Sathnam Sanghera (best known for his memoir, The Boy With The Topknot, which became an acclaimed BBC Two drama) had a profound sense of anticlimax when he stood in front of his chosen painting at the National Gallery, Christ Crowned With Thorns by the 15th century Netherlandish painter Dirk Bouts. Yet on closer scrutiny, the image started to move him – and for his Essay, it opened up surprising insights into his own Sikh heritage and how much the Christian and Sikh artistic traditions have in common.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, Sikh writer Sathnam Sanghera encounters the suffering Christ.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

02Christ Before Pilate By The Master Of Cappenberg20190416

The writer Kit de Waal grew up a Jehovah’s Witness, and it was not a happy experience for her. The painting at the National Gallery she has chosen for her Essay is the 16th century Christ Before Pilate by the Master of Cappenberg, sometimes identified as Jan Baegert. It captures the moment when Pilate, the Roman prefect, tries to wash his hands of his part in the death of Christ. For Kit, this is a poignant reminder of the sense of not passing muster in God’s eyes which she was carrying for much of her life – and a chain of ritual disavowals running through her own family history.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, writer Kit de Waal reflects on Pilate's dilemma.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

03Christ As The Man Of Sorrows By Jacobello Del Bonomo20190417

For Muslim journalist and commentator Abdul-Rehman Malik, when it came to selecting a painting at the National Gallery for his Essay, his choice had everything to do with skin colour: Christ as the Man of Sorrows by the 14th century Italian painter Jacobello del Bonomo is brown, rather than white and blue-eyed like so many other depictions of Jesus in Western art. Abdul-Rehman’s joy over this discovery proved short-lived – but the painting prompted him to reflect on how Jesus is seen in Islam, and how he as a Muslim, who does not believe that Christ died on the cross, can relate to this image of suffering.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, Muslim journalist Abdul-Rehman Malik discovers a brown Christ.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

04The Crucifixion By The Master Of Delft20190418

The writer and film-maker Sheila Hayman runs writing workshops for survivors of torture, and when she set about choosing a painting for her Essay at the National Gallery, she thought she would be drawn to an image of physical torment. But the image that attracted her was the 16th-century Crucifixion by the Master of Delft in the Netherlands. Telling the entire story from Christ’s trial to his resurrection, and bursting with colour, detail and busyness, the painting still shows the suffering of Christ – but all around him, life goes on. Ultimately, Sheila concludes, it speaks of resurrection rather than death, as do the stories of those torture survivors – and her own Jewish refugee father.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

At the National Gallery, writer Sheila Hayman views a life-affirming Crucifixion scene.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

05The Incredulity Of St Thomas By Guercino20190419

A novelist and historian still in her 20s, Chibundu Onuzo grew up a Christian in Lagos before moving to boarding school in England as a teenager. For her Essay, she has chosen the National Gallery’s The Incredulity of St Thomas by the 17th-century Italian painter Guercino – because Thomas, the disciple who said he would not believe unless he could put his fingers into Christ’s wounds, is a kindred spirit to her. At boarding school in ‘darkest Winchester’, when most of her peers fell away from their Christian faith, their critical questions made her doubt her own beliefs too.

For this Holy Week series, BBC Radio 3 has invited five people to choose a painting of Christ’s passion or resurrection at the National Gallery in London and make it the starting point for their Essay.

The series producer is Kristine Pommert for CTVC.

Nigerian novelist Chibundu Onuzo contemplates doubting Thomas at the National Gallery.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.