Jamer Ensor, oil on canvas, 1939

He seemed visionary and he presented, in his idiosyncratic way, an oeuvre with a lot of criticism on society, religion and the art world. This pioneering innovator had an artistic talent for drawing and was an exceptional painter with a unique colour palette. Ensor linked his work to symbolism, but also shows impressionistic and expressionistic qualities.

In ‘Christ and the angels’ he portrays himself as the Christ figure, an identification that arises from his strained relationship with the art world. By using this religious theme, he symbolizes his suffering as an artist. The angel in the middle weeps, she is ‘Dame Peinture’ and represents his muse. James Ensor lies next to his crown of thorns and presents himself as a dead Christ, he who will resurrect. James Ensor is here the misunderstood artist who creates the pure art. He subtly criticizes the ecclesiastical institution in the background, the three crosses pierce the body of Mary Magdalene, which is hidden in the shape of the Calvary.


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