Allegory of Redemption
Allegory of Redemption

Allegory of Redemption

Author: Smuglewicz Franciszek, 1745 - 1807

Created: 18th century.

Material/technique: oil on canvas.

Dimensions: 56,5x31 cm.

Signature: Franciszek Smuglewicz (in the back side of underframe).

The Crucifixion of Jesus is the Eleventh Station of the Way of the Cross which depicts Jesus Christ being nailed to the cross. Executioners of the Roman Governor crucify Jesus who was stripped naked except for a loincloth by nailing his hands and legs to the cross. Pilate wrote over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews (abbreviated INRI). This subject is considered the most important symbol of Christianity.

Crucifixion was the worst and most painful punishment. The crucified man had his arms stretched and raised upwards; the weight of the body was pulling and breaking the arms from the shoulders. The entire body was hanging on the nails and the slightest movement made bigger holes on the hands and feet and caused greater pain. Nails pierced through the hands and feet damaged many veins, which were burning and carried pain across the body. The blood of the stretched crucified man did not run properly and made pain in the head and liver overwhelming. (Motiejus Valančius, „Žyvatas Jėzaus Kristaus Viešpaties mūsų“, Raštai 3, p. 511–513)

Reference: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, P. 94.

This small picture by FRANCISZEK SMUGLEWICZ (1745–1807), is an allegorical composition representing one of the most important tenets of the Christian faith, the coming of the Messiah, the Saviour of Mankind, as it was announced in the Old Testament and is described in the New Testament. In the background on the left, Moses, the Old Testament prophet, is portrayed beside a burning altar, holding the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the meaning of which was adopted and fully revealed in the teachings of Christ. On the right is St John the Baptist, who preceded Jesus. He embodies the progression from the Old to the New Testament, as he announced the Advent of the Messiah, and recognised Jesus by the River Jordan as the Lamb of God intended to be sacrificed: ‘Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world’ ( Jn 1, 29). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who sacrificed his life for man’s sins, is lit up by divine light in the centre of the picture. At the foot of the cross, the defeated Serpent is writhing in agony. Christ has overcome the power of evil, and saved man from Satan. Allegorical compositions on mythological, biblical and historical themes were popular with educated clients in the epoch of Classical art. Stanisław August (1764–1795), the last King of the Republic of the Two Nations, also liked the theme, and granted Smuglewicz a scholarship to study in Rome.

Reference: Art album "Heaven and Beyond", compiler Dalia Vasiliunienė, authors Dalia Vasiliunienė and Skaidrė Urbonienė. Vilnius, VALIUNAS ELLEX, 2016. P. 108.

Exhibitions: Exhibition of the Fine Arts Collection of Edmundas Armoška "Outcrops of Lithuanian Art 16th–21th Centuries" 2008 July 3 - August 31, Lithuanian Art Museum, Vilnius.

Published: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, P. 96-97; "Outcrops of Lithuanian Art 16th–21th Centuries", Vilnius  Exhibition of the Fine Arts Collection of Edmundas Armoška, Vilnius: Lithuanian Art Museum, 2008 Kat. No. II, 63, P. 104; Drėma Vladas. "Pranciškus Smuglevičius". Vilnius: Vaga, 1973, No. 551, P. 382.