Head of Christ, 1905
Oil on paper, mounted on canvas
While most artists in early twentieth-century Paris devoted themselves to secular subjects, Rouault, an ardent Catholic, produced intensely emotional religious images and genre paintings that mirrored the timeless Christian themes of sin and salvation. His blunt and brutal Expressionist style also found few parallels in the French art of his day. He was ultimately hailed as "the monk of modern art."
Rouault initially trained in Paris as a stained glass maker, and in paintings such as this one, he was clearly influenced by the structure and hues of medieval glass windows, by their broad, flat fields of color and thick, leaded contours.