Christ and Zacchaeus

Helena Cherkasova, Christ and Zacchaeus , circa 2000, ink and paper, private collection, Moscow.

Helena Cherkasova is a painter living and working in Moscow. She paints icons for Orthodox churches as well as other compositions for exhibitions in Russia and abroad.

Here she is working with the story in Luke of Zacchaeus, the tax collector for Jericho. Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus but he is too short to see over the crowd so he climbed a tree in order to get a better view. Jesus sees him and tells him to come down and that he will stay at Zacchaeus’ house that night. Zacchaeus becomes a follower.

The combination of text and graphic and the color choices of this piece seem to echo ancient Egyptian painting. The difference in scale was the most commonly used method for conveying hierarchy and most Egyptian paintings were accompanied by text. Red was associated with the sun and its life-giving capacity. 


A categorization in which people (or other objects) are ranked relative to each other, some higher and some lower.

A religious work of art often depicting a religious figure, as in a painting.

Of or belonging to any of several branches of Christianity, especially from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, whose adherents trace their tradition back to the earliest Christian communities. Lowercase ("orthodox"), this term means conforming with the dominant, sanctioned ideas or belief system.

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