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Wood engraving.

The life of Jesus according to the Gospels, illustrated by Bernhard Plockhorst with pictures and poems of Charles Gerok.

Plockhorst (1825 – 1907) is associated with the Nazarene movement. This group of artists is said to have “shared a leaning toward spiritually ponderous subjects, a commitment to crystalline linearity and local colour and a fascination with Renaissance art of the 15th and early 16th centuries.”


Here we see John on the bank of the Jordan. His right arm lifts above Jesus’ head, and he pours the water from a shell. Here, again, he holds the cross-like staff. The bank of the river and John’s clothing are dark, drawing the eye to the figure of Jesus in the center. Jesus wears a white cloth, which is draped over his left shoulder. We can see the details of his bare arm and chest, as he is bathed in light. Jesus stands in the water up to his ankles, but we can see his bare feet below. He does not have a halo, but the water above his head glows with light. Above his head the figure of the white dove is descending from the open clouds, and he is surrounded by rays of light. Behind Jesus, on the opposite bank, we can see figures, one holds up his palm.