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Paris Bordone, Christ as 'The Light of the World'

Key facts
Full title Christ as 'The Light of the World'
Artist Paris Bordone
Artist dates 1500 - 1571
Date made about 1550
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 90.7 × 74.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Mrs Mary M. Wood through her brother, the Revd G. Greenwood, 1901
Inventory number NG1845
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Christ as 'The Light of the World'
Paris Bordone

Christ’s hand is raised with his index finger pointing upwards, perhaps towards heaven, represented by the sunlit sky through the window. He holds a scroll inscribed: EGO. SVM. LVX. MŪD. meaning ‘I am the Light of the World’ (John 8: 12). Christ goes on to promise that ‘he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,’ underlining his role as saviour.

Paintings of this type were kept in houses, especially in bedrooms and also displayed in churches. The painting is signed on the plinth of the pillar.

The hatching of the shadows in Christ’s eyes and the thin horizontal lines of white crossing his irises are typical of Bordone’s style and can also be seen in his Portrait of a Young Woman. The red of Christ’s garment has faded, making the highlights and shadows appear rather hard and abrupt.

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