Enjoy watching an interview with the artist who painted the image of Jesus Christ the Returning King. Fr. Darragh Connolly and Fr. Rafael sit down to speak with painter Janusz Antosz.
For Janusz, this painting is a gift back to the Lord for all of the gifts He has given him. Captured below are Janusz's responses during the phone interview:
Who are the two individuals at the bottom of painting?
There is not any one particular saint associated to these saints. The individuals represent Eastern and Western saints. The Eastern saint is the hooded individual and the other, a Western saint. In the painting, they both adore the Lord which represents that all believers, from East to West, will adore the Lord.
Please describe the flowers along the arch at the top of the painting.
The flowers, which are shaped as bells, symbolise the good news of a beginning, or in other words, an announcement of a coming. For example, at the beginning of Mass, the bells are ringing and the priest enter the sanctuary. In this case, it is the High Priest entering.
What about the gold area below the arch?
The gold area represents the glory and reality of heaven.
Is there any significance to Our Lord's vestments and the color of the vestments?
Our Lord is dressed as a bishop/priest and the colors are those traditionally used to portray sacrifice as well as glory and praise. The pattern on the vestments is consistent with patterns found in icons. The color of the alb is blue.
How did you decide to portray Our Lord's face?
I modeled Our Lord's face after the Shroud of Turin.
Our Lord's hand is raised in blessing. Did you know the hand gesture of Our Lord in the painting, in sign language, says "I REALLY LOVE YOU"?
Jesus' hand is the same in all icons and I was trying to replicate the hand gesture of a king. I am very surprised to learn that there is an additional meaning in sign language.
What does the scepter with the cross at the top represent?
The scepter represents that through the power of the cross, all power rests with the Lord. •All authority in heaven and on earth has been give to Me• (Matt 28: 18).
And the crown on His head?
His crown reflects His kingship - "The King of kings and the Lord of lords." (11im 6:15).
What about His halo and the letters around His halo?
The lettcr around his halo arc actually symbols: the letter 0 is Omega, and the letter Nu Greek fur "I am". These words are taken from the book of Exodus 3: 14, when Moses asks God for His Name. According to an expert on icons, 0 and N a.re symbols of the presence of God and the mystery of the Incarnation - the divine presence becomes visible. Also, in this icon, it reflects the mystery of the coming of Our Lord. The invisible God of the Old Covenant becomes visible in the New Covenant when, after having received a body by being born of the Virgin Mary, He appears to us so that we may adore Him as God, who is love.
What was your inspiration for His throne?
The throne is in a style from the 17th century Baroque period. The light, bright colors represent Christ the King's purity, beauty and holiness. I am trying to convey that the environment around Jesus is very bright and beautiful.
What about the white lilies on the top of His throne?
The white lilies are the flowers closest to Our Lord and represent His purity.
What type of angels are in the painting?
These angels are Seraphim angels - the angels present at God's throne who constantly praise Him (Isaiah 6:1-7).
Is there anything special about the medal around His neck?
The medal with the cross image is on Our Lord's Sacred Heart. It is meant to show that by dying on the cross, He shaws the love He has for each one of us. In most of the icons I have seen, the med.all.ion docs not have any type of image in it. I felt it appropriate to add the cross for this symbolism.
Please tell me about the flowers directly to the left and the right of his throne.
These flowers arc wide open and facing the Lord, meaning they arc praising and giving great glory to the Lord.
And the grapes and wheat?
The grapes and wheat represent the Holy Eucharist.
What about the two groups of flowers in the bottom corners?
These flowers arc natural flowers wide open facing toward Jesus giving Him glory.
Is there anything special about the open area between the two groups of flowers?
By painting this open area, I wanted to convey that through prayer and meditation, we will not have any obstruction on the journey to Christ. We will all have a direct path or an open road to the Lord and we will gain a more intimate relationship and closer union with Him.
Is there anything significant about the gold leaves in the top corners?
These leaves are leaves of a vine, indicating that Jesus is the vine (John 15:1). The leaves are open and giving glory to Our Lord. They are also positioned to showcase Our Lord.