Here are two more examples of the profoundly theological art of Peter Howson, whose recently completed painting of the martyrdom of Scottish Catholic St. John Ogilvie has drawn so much attention.
Judas by Peter Howson:
The Harrowing of Hell by Peter Howson:
An interesting and informative article on Peter Howson in The Church Times:
Seeing into hell itself – Again and again in Peter Howson’s extraordinarily powerful works we encounter a personal view of the power of redemption through suffering.
After years of addictions, Howson turned his life around in 2000 after reaching “the gutter”. It was either down into a lost abyss or a complete change; on the one hand, The Harrowing of Hell, and, on the other, the free release of I am the morning Star, two of the six vast canvases on show. Although Howson does not say how he heard God prompt him to change, God has brought him Life.
Howson gets up every morning at 3.30 a.m. to pray in a little chapel in his garden before working through until 10.30 p.m., and I find myself wondering how many bishops and priests maintain that sort of disciplined life. The chapel is more of a hut really (“two inches of water on the floor some days”) with a cross and candles, quite bare and without any decoration.
He might shy away from calling himself a born-again Christian, but he acknowledges that there is little else to describe his conversion to this new way of life, and his conviction that he has been called to paint for Christ.
More on visual arts: