"the sawdust flowing from what wound in what side that not for me died not"
Christ on the Cross
Public DomainChrist on the Cross - Credit: Oscar Dehaes

In the Book of John, it is recorded that when Christ’s crucified body is taken down from the cross, “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19.34). Remembering how his father ridiculed Maury’s Christian beliefs and how he taught instead that “all men are just accumulations dolls stuffed with sawdust”, Quentin re-imagines Jesus as the personification of his father’s ideas. He draws a perverse relish from the idea that the crucifixion, intended to purchase salvation for humanity, will be insufficient to atone for the sin he is set upon. 

 

 

 

Crucifixion altarpiece of the College of Dona Maria de Aragon (detail)
Public DomainCrucifixion altarpiece of the College of Dona Maria de Aragon (detail) - Credit: El Greco