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Artist: Claire Sievers

Medium: Quilt

Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross

Artist’s Statement

When I chose “Descent from the Cross” I did not have any clear ideas, only that I wanted to make a quilt. I went online and viewed quite a few beautiful paintings by such artists as Rembrandt, Rubens, Tintoretto, and others. My eyes were always drawn to Mary and how she was depicted by the artist. I had always wanted to try making a portrait quilt, and felt this would be the way to go, but couldn’t find just the right image. In the meantime, I read the scripture, and somehow came across Zechariah 12:10, which prophesized the resurrection: the fact that Jesus’s legs were not broken, as were the other two men, and that his side was pierced. But it was these words that really struck me and I included them on the quilt: “And they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn”. I understood something of this reference and Mary’s profound grief as my husband and I had our first big, beautiful, baby boy, but lost him after heart surgery.

I continued to look for an image and finally found a Czechoslovakian stamp issued in 2008 honoring Mistyr Vysebrodskebo, a high gothic artist who painted murals in monasteries around 1350. I was quite moved by this intimate, very personal image of Mary holding Jesus just after he was taken down from the cross. She saw only Him: not the cross, the blood, the centurions. Mary was briefly able to hold and cradle her Jesus in death much as she did when she first gave him life.

Conversation with the Artist

Click here to learn more about our Lent 2016 offering, the Artist’s Way of the Cross.

About The Rev. Elizabeth Roles

Associate Priest at Saint Barnabas. A priest since 2006, I value the joy and challenge of life in the Body of Christ. Happiness is reading Anthony Trollope novels, singing Southern harmony hymns, and exploring the outdoors with my son.