A rare artifact attributed and verified as coinage stamped during the reign of the man who gave the order to crucify Jesus Christ forms part of an art piece that will be on display in Abbotsford starting Sept. 24.
The piece by Canadian artist Catherine Adamson is titled The Crucifixion: The shekel of Pontius Pilate. It will be displayed in the Metzger Collection on the campus of Columbia Bible College (2940 Clearbrook Rd.) from Sept. 24 to Nov. 30.
The piece is the first work in a wider collection titled Authentic: A Study in Evil. A collaborative effort, the commissioned collection focuses on rulers who, in order to satisfy their own ego and/or ideology, used their power to suppress both people and nature.
Canadian author Robert Joseph Green, collaborator on the project, said it is rare that Pilate – a Roman governor under the emperor of Tiberius in the first century – would be sourced as an evil dictator, but to the over 2.1 billion Christians around the world, the title rings true.
Pilate is known as the judge of Jesus’s trial who gave the order for his crucifixion in Judea.
“There is enough evidence outside of biblical scripture to prove that he was an evil dictator whom the Roman senate had to recall for his terrible abuses of power,” Greene said.
He said two Jewish historians –Philo (20 B.C.-A.D. 50) and Josephus (A.D. 37-100) – have described incidents in which Pilate dictated cruel and unusual punishments to his subjects.
Adamson wanted to present a more authentic approach to the act of crucifixion and from research discovered that olive wood was used to make the crucifixion crosses.
Because bodies were left to rot as a deterrent to others, there was only one archeological discovery of a crucified victim by the name of Jehohanan (Yehohanan). Fragments of olive wood were found at the heel of his corpse.
“When the offer came to showcase The Crucifixion, we were thrilled by the prospect and its natural tie-in to the collection,” said Greg Thiessen, manager of the Metzger Collection. “How often does anyone get to see a 2,000-year-old coin from Judea during the time of Jesus Christ, let alone see it integrated within a stunning art piece?”
The piece of art is valued at more than $ 30,000 Canadian. Metzgers hopes a private donation will take place to allow them to purchase the art piece and make it a permanent part of their collection.
The exhibition is free to the public by appointment only. Call 604-853-3567 (ext. 539) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facts About The Crucifixion: The shekel of Pontius Pilate by Catherine Adamson
• Prior to 1961, the coin embossment was the only proof that Pontius Pilate existed. In 1961 a corner stone to a theatre was discovered with Pilate’s name on it.
• The bible verse in the painting was chosen as it’s the only verse in all 50 versions of the Christian bible.
• Olive wood from an olive tree was used in the painting as it was discovered to be the wood used for crucifixion. The Romans practiced crucifixion – literally, “fixed to a cross” – for nearly a millennium.
• Catherine Adamson used her own blood to represent the blood of Christ in the art piece.
• Adamson has created her own colour tone and peinture entitled “Child of Christ Red,” which sells for $5,000 per gram.
• 24K gold leaf gilding is used to intertwine with the red accents to signify worldly goods of mortals intertwined with blood of Christ to signify man’s original sins on earth (and want of earthly possessions). This signifies Jesus dying for the sins of mankind.
• This is not Adamson’s typical work. This was a commission piece by Canadian author Robert Joseph Greene for his museum project.
• The other dictators in the “Authentic: A Study in Evil” exhibition are Adolph Hitler, Idi Amin, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and George W. Bush.
• The original exhibition had seven art pieces by Adamson with accompanying essays by Greene.
• Greene did two essays on The Crucifixion: The shekel of Pontius Pilate. One sources the biblical references of Pilate and the other is non-biblical and references historians from around that era.
• The coin is actually a prutah meaning “low value” in Hebrew. Ten prutot (plural for prutah) would buy a loaf of bread.