Born in 1905, Barnett Newman was among the most important and influential New York painters at mid century. Between 1958 and 1966, he painted a series of fourteen abstract canvases on the theme of the Stations of the Cross, the subject of this paper. All fourteen paintings are roughly six feet square and are painted in black and white of varying intensity on unprepared canvas: a somewhat larger fifteenth painting, executed between 1961 and 1964 and variously entitled Be II or Resurrection, has come to be associated with the series and is displayed together with it in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. From canvas to canvas, black and white bands of paint increase or decrease in size. Occasionally, the geometric purity of these works is unsettled when one color field bleeds into another or, more dramatically, when color and brush strokes appear to erupt from beneath and splinter otherwise involatile surfaces: the fifteenth canvas stands out from the others by virtue of a slight cadmium red band that is painted along its left edge. Individually, the canvases in the series are entitled numerically: Station I, Station II, Station III, and so forth. The Stations of the Cross.


The first annual Humanities Symposium was held Feb. 28-March 1, 1994. The Humanities Symposium was part of "Viva Humanitas," a yearlong series of programs celebrating the opening of the Jesse Philips Humanities Center in August 1993.



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