31. Deposition I

Wayne Forte (1950- )
Oil on canvas
24X 24

The deposition of Christ from the cross is a theme which provides many opportunities for introspection
and speculation. There is the formal opportunity it provides for arranging bodies across the picture
plane, creating a "veil" of human attitudes and emotions centering on the dead body of the Savior of
Humanity. As part of the biblical narrative Wayne Forte sees the deposition as a heroic metaphor for
Christian community. At what must have been their darkest hour—Jesus dead, God the Father in
Heaven and the Holy Spirit not yet sent—these men, led by Joseph of Arimathea, manage to get the
unwieldy lifeless body off the cross and to the tomb. What empowered them? Was it their love of Jesus?
Were they disciples or were they paid workers or slaves? How did this job affect them? Was it a relief
that the torture was over? Or was the sadness and hopelessness even worse?

John 19: 38-42
38Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but
secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39He
was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a
mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped
it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At the place
where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever
been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus

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