In this expressionist depiction of the crucifixion, Souza directly challenges the white-washed Roman Catholic iconography he had been encouraged to admire as a child, depicting ‘blond operatic Christs and flaxen-haired shy Virgins'. He instead depicts a grimacing, black Christ - 'the impaled image of a Man supposed to be the Son of God, scourged and dripping, with matted hair tangled in plaited thorns'.
Francis Newton Souza
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on board 183.1 x 122 cm Tate. Purchased 1993 © Estate of F N Souza. All rights reserved, DACS 2017
Francis Newton Souza (1924 – 2002) was an Indian artist born in Goa, who worked in expressionist and avant-garde spheres. He formed the Progressive Artists Group of Bombay to encourage Indian artists to participate in global art movements, and was the first post-colonial Indian artist to become successful in Britain and the United States. His work challenges hypocrisy and dualism in religion, society and sexuality. Souza spent many years in Britain and New York, but returned to India shortly before his death 2002, and buried in Mumbai.