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This Lent has been different for my family. We have been under a lot of changes and we are still shifting gears so to speak. I suspect not just a few of you can relate to this. God has a way of getting us on the move and letting us know it is Him and not us who is really in charge.

This Lent instead of fasting food, TV, or my favorite Beetles album…I decided to do something instead. I searched for many days for the right image and found Giovanni’s fresco of  ‘Christ with a Crown of Thorns’ to be moving and inspiring.  So I set my hand to painting  a replica of this famous fresco.

Notable changes are the differences in color usage although I did try to emulate Giovanni’s usage of contrasting orange and blue. In my version the eyes of Christ are open and I only did the face and not the full length of the body as in Giovanni’s fresco.  In addition, I used a patterned border which was a first for me.

Through a little research I found Matteo Di Giovanni was born at Borgo San Sepolcro, Italy in 1435 and died in 1495 at the age of 60. He mainly worked in the Italian city of Siena. During Giovanni’s lifetime the masters of the Sienese school rivaled the famous Florentine painters.

Giovanni exploits the Sienese painting tradition in his fresco ‘Christ with a Crown of Thorns.’ Giovanni used traditional Sienese usage of line quality, sincerity of feeling, refined grace and dignity of the figure, attention to minutiae of cross background, and frankness of execution.

But beyond these stylistic qualities what grabs my eye is Giovanni’s color usage. The strong contrast of orange and blue makes the painting radiate and pulsate with life. The harmony of his color scheme is rich and brilliant. In my opinion, this sets Giovanni apart from other fifteenth century Sienese painters.

I can only hope that one day my efforts will produce beautiful works like Giovanni, but for now I am where I am. I hope Christ speaks to you through my humble attempt to paint “Christ with a Crown of Thorns.”

Hope and pray your Lent is filled with the goodness of Christ and your eyes of understanding are opened in a fresh way this Lent.