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Item Description:


Oil on linen


52 3/8 x 82 1/4 in. (133 x 208.9 cm.)

Signed and dated 'Souza 88' upper left and inscribed and dated 'Crucifixtion 1988' on reverse

‘Wherever he went, Souza took with him the iconography of his Catholic faith. He rediscovered himself in the saints and sinners and martyrs of the Bible. And in womanhood, Souza found solace and comfort, and the fecundity and regenerative power of Nature. His works oscillate between these two poles of abnegation and exultation. And because of the elemental and universal nature of this experience, his works touch us deeply.’ (Ebrahim Alkazi, F.N. Souza – A Tribute, an insert to an exhibition catalogue to the Alkazi Collection)

Souza's upbringing as a strict Catholic is well documented and he himself admits that the Roman Catholic Church in Goa gave him his first ideas about images and image making. He states 'the Roman Catholic Church had a tremendous influence over me, not its dogmas but its grand architecture and the splendour of its services. The priest dressed in richly embroidered vestments, each of his garments from the biretta to the chasuble symbolising the accoutrement of Christ's passion. The wooden saints painted with gold and bright colours staring vacantly out of their niches. The smell of incense, and the enormous crucifix with the impaled image of a Man supposed to be the Son of God, scourged and dripping, with matted hair tangled in plaited thorns.' (F.N. Souza, Words & Lines, London, 1955, p.10)

In 1965 during an interview with Mervyn Levy, Souza states, 'for me the all pervading and crucial themes of the predicament of man, are those of religion and sex. As you know, in Hindu religious erotic philosophy these themes are coincidental and mutually illuminating they are not in conflict. But within the Christian faith they are of necessity in discord.' (F. N. Souza in an interview with Mervyn Levy for the Studio, International Art Magazine, 1965) This 'predicament of man' is reflected in the subject matter of numerous figurative paintings produced by Souza in the 1950s and 1960s. The most complex paintings of the series are a group of large format double portraits that include Mystic Repast (1953), Man and Woman (1954), Lovers (1955), Two Elders (1956) and Pope and Pilate (1956). In all of these works, a juxtaposition is created between images of men and women, or between saints and sinners that reflected Souza's own complex and frequently conflicted relationship with the Roman Catholic Church. In some respects, the current painting is a return to that same theme, where we are confronted by the crucified Christ and the blank stares of the sinners who watch his crucifixion.

'Souza's treatment of the figurative image is richly varied. Besides the violence, the eroticism and the satire, there is a religious quality about his work which is medieval in its simplicity and in its unsophisticated sense of wonder. Some of the most moving of Souza's paintings are those which convey a spirit of awe in the presence of a divine power - a God, who is not a God of gentleness and love, but rather of suffering, vengeance and terrible anger. In his religious work there is a quality of fearfulness and terrible grandeur which even Rouault and Sutherland have not equalled in this century.' (Edwin Mullins, Souza, London, 1962, p. 40)

About The Artist:


₹ 14000000.00 ( Sold Price )


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