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Study for Christ Building the Ship, "Christ the Carpenter" ... Image 1

Study for Christ Building the Ship, "Christ the Carpenter" World War II portable altarpiece, for Philadelphia Naval Base Chapel

c. 1944
Pen and ink, graphite and red pencil on cardboard
Credit Line
Gift of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 2015
11 x 7 1/2 in.

Description & Inscriptions

[superimposed over the image in red pencil]: [a graph with numbers 1-17 on the x-axis and letters a-I on the y-axis]; [below the center panel in ink]: Christ Building The Ship; [bottom center in ink]: the passage from Psalm 127; [lower right in red ink]: stamped signature; [verso at bottom in graphite]: Christ the carpenter 20 / buildeth a fishing boat 23 / Henceforth I will make you / fishers of men / except the Lord...; [verso at top]: Violet Oakley / Citizens Committee for the Army & Navy Inc / 36 East 36 St-NYC
One of Oakley's most impressive altarpieces was the monumental Christ the Carpenter for the Philadelphia Naval Yard Chapel, which portrays Jesus as a strong young man in a tunic building the hull of a ship. Beneath the workbench, his pet dog watches as he bears lumber onto his shoulder in a pose that foreshadows the carrying of the cross.


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