christ the worker

I was in Truro yesterday morning and I saw a painting. It is in the Chapel of Christ the Worker in Truro Cathedral. It really caught my attention because it was so well set in that realist art of the thirties. I love the way it remarks the Soviet realism of the period and found it hugely enjoyable to see. So it is a crafting of a practice isn’t it? It must be. I was laughing to myself in a sort of post-theological way, thinking that the painting is imagined to avoid the sanctimonious praise of figuring the rich and powerful in religious art (as in the Italian renaissance etc) and showing us the workers at their toil. Maybe it was sensed as somehow revolutionary even at the time with its echoes of the Soviets. However she was adumbrating, indicating before its time, the descent of the church to a point that it is only by offering images of the poor (and noble) that the church is validated in a very material, financial way. You don’t get lottery grants by promising to be nice to the local Dukes do you???

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