Jesus in Benares.
 Wesley, Frank, 1923-2002

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Title:Jesus in Benares
Notes:Wesley was born in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh into a fifth generation Christian family of Hindu and Muslim descent. He belongs to the Lucknow school of painting. His paintings reflect this influence and that of the Chughtai school of painting that flourished in India at the turn of the century. Wesley made art based on both biblical and secular themes. He used water colours, oil paintings, miniatures and wooden carvings.

Wesley's painting "Blue Madonna" was used for the first UNICEF Christmas card, while five of his paintings were exhibited at the 1950 Holy Year Exhibition in the Vatican. He is also known for designing the funeral urn for Mahatma Gandhi's ashes.

“Seated on the lower steps of the ghats at Varanasi (Benares) and surrounded by priests, pilgrims and devotees who gather there for the salvation of souls from rebirth, Jesus is expounding his teachings to an attentive audience. In the sense of epiphany, this scene is in the spirit of his teaching in the temple at Jerusalem and probably would be met by the same mixture of fascination, awe, worry about sacrilege, fear and anger which Jesus met in his own time and place, except that Indians love to discuss theology and have accepted that there are many ways to know God…Hindus hold that everyone seeks their own salvation, though it may be found through devotion to a specific deity. It is not often found through the teachings of a contemporary, and if it is, the teacher himself usually becomes the object of worship. In this painting, Jesus is at the centre of the discussion, if not of worship.” From Frank Wesley: Exploring Faith with a Brushby Naomi Wray

Date:late 20th century
Artist:Wesley, Frank, 1923-2002

Scripture:Matthew 21:23-32
Person as Subject:Jesus Christ (Biblical figure)
Lectionary links:AProp21
General Subject:Teaching
Culture: Indian

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Copyright Source:Estate of Frank Wesley,
Copyright Permission:The artist has granted permission for the non-commercial use of this image with attribution. The artist must be contacted for other uses.
Attribution:Wesley, Frank, 1923-2002. Jesus in Benares, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved July 16, 2024]. Original source: Estate of Frank Wesley,
Record Number:59243 Last Updated: 2022-09-19 14:00:10 Record Created: 2021-12-23 12:34:30
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition