Media, Culture, and the Arts Hosts Otto Dix’s Matthäus Evangelium Art Exhibit

The MCA Department at The King’s College is hosting an art exhibit called Matthäus Evangelium on the fifth floor of campus.

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The Media, Culture, and the Arts Department at The King’s College is hosting an art exhibit called Matthäus Evangelium on the fifth floor of campus. Matthäus Evangelium is a series of Expressionist lithographs by the German artist Otto Dix (1891-1969) that chronicles the events of Jesus’ life in the Gospel of Matthew.

Otto Dix, who was most well-known for his grim artistic portrayals of the carnage of World War I and II, is considered by many to be one of the greatest German Expressionist artists of the first part of the 1900s. After World War II ended, Dix turned his attention to religious themes, displaying a deep knowledge of the Gospel of Matthew as he created 33 lithographs that follow Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

Matthäus Evangelium traces the life of Jesus through the Gospel of Matthew. He begins the series, though, not with the birth of Christ, but rather with Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of Isaac, pointing forward to the need for Jesus’ atoning work. Through the rest of the exhibit, Dix follows the life of Jesus, using his art to depict the key scenes of the Gospel of Matthew, including Jesus’ baptism, Sermon on the Mount, and the Transfiguration.

As the exhibit progresses, the lithographs culminate with the Passion of Jesus, as Dix chronicles the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion. Dix concludes the collection with two final pieces, the first one displaying the angel at the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection, and the last one showing the Great Commission.

Dr. Henry Bleattler, Associate Professor of History and the Humanities, has been working to bring touring art exhibitions to campus. Matthäus Evangelium is the second such exhibit to stop at the college. He is excited that the King’s community will be able to experience the artwork of such a talented artist. Dr. Bleattler said, “For those who know the work of Dix, they might be surprised at the spiritual turn he takes here but think about what Europe had gone through by mid-century. For an artist who captured life in all of its harsh ruthlessness, this turn toward the Gospel of Matthew is powerful and moving.”

Matthäus Evangelium was originally published as a book in 1960 and is on loan to King’s from The Bowden Collection, a private art collection in Chatham, Massachusetts. It will be on display until December 16, 2022.

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