Shropshire Star

Simon returns to his artistic roots for a four year painting project

A painting by an artist from Telford, titled The Deposition of Christ, has gone on show to visitors to Bradford Cathedral and will be on display until Good Friday on April 7.

Simon Rice with the painting that has taken four year to complete

The major artwork by 67-year-old Simon Ephraim Rice took him a challenging four years to complete.

Simon, who has a studio at the Maws Craft Centre said that he never once considered putting it aside.

He said: “Back in the 1970s I went to art school for a few years but then I dropped out, and subsequently had other careers before I managed to get early retirement in my mid-50s, to try and have another go at art.

“I had always worked on painting and sketching in my spare time, but I knew I had to explore doing something with my art, so I took myself back to art school in London from 2016 to 2018.

“I studied portraiture, and when the course was over, I decided that I needed to set myself a challenge, otherwise my time in London would become, I suppose, like a dream that never happened.

“I decided to paint something far bigger than I had ever done before, and with no time limit, which is how the idea for the painting came about.

“Quite why I chose a religious subject, I don’t know. Though I go to church, I am not a hugely religious person.”

He said that the idea for the painting came from exploring the countryside.

“I came across this old barn, and imagined it as a nativity scene and this connected up when I found a painting by an Italian painter called Fiorentino of the Deposition – taking Christ down from the cross.

"I found that much more exciting and vibrant than the nativity, so this became the basis for the painting.

“The painting went through many changes."

When creating the painting, Simon used models and tailor’s dummies rather than photographs to work from.

“I don’t put it out as a Christian painting even though it is of a scene from the Bible.

People will be able to join the artists and Canon Ned Lunn to reflect on the painting as part of Good Friday Devotions from noon to 1.30pm on Good Friday.

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