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Mark Cazalet (b. 1964 – )
Fool of God (Christ in the garden), 1993

Oil on paper
18cm x 18cm
Loaned by Trustees of the Methodist Modern Art Collection
Fool of God (Christ in the Garden)
Cazalet portrays Jesus at prayer, leaning against a rock in the spare landscape. He does not clutter the picture or heighten the tension within it by including the angel or the other disciples, or by seeking to convey the agony of Jesus physically in any way. The title of the painting refers to the idea of ‘Holy Fools’, familiar to us particularly from Russian literature and history as those who “set God’s will above worldly wisdom, even to the point of martyrdom”.

The figure of Jesus is portrayed with a single serpentine brush stroke, which captures the bend in his back over the convenient rock, and the reddy-brown colour contrasts in tone and hue with the greens and olives of the landscape with its tree, scrub, rocks and path. The artist contrasts the figure of Jesus with that of Isaac, bound by his father before being sacrificed, held against his will but later released; here Jesus is held of his own free will by his mission on earth, although he is technically free to run away. Cazalet has sought to capture the “moment of (Christ’s) most profound incarnation, fully in dread at the fate he knew would come as a man, yet faithful and obedient in his divine fulfilment of the sacrifice.
(Seeing the Spiritual – A Guide to the Methodist Modern Art Collection. 2018)
Mark Cazalet – Biographical Details
Mark Cazalet is a contemporary artist based in London and Suffolk, UK. He studied at Chelsea School of Art and then Falmouth School of Art. Immediately after graduating he was awarded the French government’s National studentship award to study in France. He studied at L’Ecole-des-Beaux-Arts Paris in the studio of Christian Boltanski. Simultaneously to this scholarship he was awarded a year at the Cite-des-Arts studio complex in the Marais. After a year back in London he went to M.S. University Baroda for an eighteen month Association of Commonwealth Universities Scholarship to study under Professor Fulham Mohamed Sheikh. Since his return to the UK he has held a number of residencies and in 2012 and 2013 was artist in residence twice at The Anni and Josef Albers Foundation in Connecticut, America. Mark is a Senior Member of Faculty at The Royal Drawing School and teaches at West Dean College, the Edward James Foundation, Sussex and the University of the West of England. He is a Trustee of City and Guilds London Art School.