Artist Fyffe Christie: Christ feeding the people, 1951

Artist Fyffe Christie (1918 - 1979): Christ feeding the people, 1951


Fyffe Christie (1918 - 1979):
Christ feeding the people, 1951
Unmounted (ref: 2940)

Signed and dated
Oil on board, eight panels, 96 x 384 in. (243.8 x 975.2 cm.)

See all works by Fyffe Christie oil panel religion

Provenance: Iona Community until the 1970's; Private Collection

Literature: British Murals and Decorative Painting 1920-1960, Sansom & Co, 2013, pp 88-89

Exhibited: St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art 1999

In the post-diploma year of 1950-1 Christie painted the mural of Christ Feeding the People for the Iona Community. The work was commissioned by the dynamic founder and leader of the community the Reverend George MacLeod who had been responsible for the reconstruction of Iona Abbey on the Island of Iona off Scotland's west coast. The 35 foot long mural painted on eight panels covered the walls of the community centre cafe on Clyde Street, Glasgow which was open to the public as a community centre and to provide cheap and nutritious food to visitors and the city's homeless. Christie depicted the huge scene of an interior with ordinary folk, men returning from work and women baking and bathing children, while the figure of Jesus was placed at the centre of the activity and the act of the breaking of bread placed at the heart of community life. The work was intended to be in accord with the community's declared aim of "rebuilding the common life" and it arguably achieved this by depicting ordinary community life in a contemporary Glasgow setting. Robert Radford wrote "The allegorical references to the labour of men and women and to community and service are, in essence, biblical but also universal, expressing the potential for transcendence of normality which this work shares with Spencer's Memorial Chapel at Burghclere. The mural became familiar to the generations of Glaswegians who frequented the centre. Shortly after completion of the work the newspaper The Glasgow Herald ran an article on mural art in Scotland and the work of the muralists Walter Pritchard, William Crosbie and Christie, the "powerful simplicity" of Christie's Iona Community mural drawing particular praise.Christie preferred to paint directly onto the wall but the Iona Community specified that the commission was completed on panels. Fortunately this allowed the work to be saved following the closure and demolition of the centre in the late 1970's.

re-emerged some decades after it was assumed to have been lost when removed from the building in the late