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The Deposition

Stephen Greene, American, 1917–1999
Oil on canvas
Made in
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States, North and Central America
Current Location
On View, Gallery 333
59 1/4 × 33 7/8 in. (150.5 × 86 cm)
framed (sight): 68 3/4 × 43 1/2 in. (174.6 × 110.5 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer Jr.
© The Estate of Stephen Greene, Jason McCoy, Inc., New York
Object Number
Ladders surround a cross where seven figures remove the body of Jesus. The delicate human bodies and angular limbs interlock with the ladders. In addition, their sad expressions and striped garments, reminiscent of prison clothing, convey a sense of entrapment. Stephen Greene was an instructor for one year, in 1946, at Washington University in St. Louis. During that time, he began to produce a group of paintings representing episodes from the life of Jesus. As Life magazine noted in 1950, "Greene's canvases are not ingratiating. Peopled by sad, manikin‑like men, they have a strained and morbid cast.... Greene does not call himself a religious man, but because biblical stories are universally recognized and easily understood, he used them to communicate his own feelings on the state of modern man—a state Greene considers to be chaotic and insecure."
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