STAVROSIS, 1958

Ink on paper mounted on wood
99 1/4 x 229 1/4 in.
252.1 x 582.3 cm

The Estate of Robert Indiana

Stavrosis (the Greek word for crucifixion), is a 19-foot mural pieced together from 44 sheets of paper. Indiana began Stavrosis in January 1958, while he was working for the Rev. James A. Pike at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Among Indiana’s duties was proofreading The History of the Cross by Norman Laliberté and Edward N. West. It was not the first time the artist undertook a religious subject. As a senior (1945–46) at Arsenal Technical High School he created five illustrations on parchment, modeled after medieval illuminations, of the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke from the King James Bible, and in 1953, while a student at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, he painted the mural Pilate Washing His Hands.

Indiana’s crucifixion depicts Christ between the two thieves, varying from the traditional depiction of Christ surrounded by saints. The work is also notable for its incorporation of botanical shapes. These forms were influenced by Ellsworth Kelly and inspired by Indiana’s surroundings. The avocado seed shape, inspired by a seed sprouting in his studio, appears in the thief to the right of Christ as well as in works such as Source I (1959) and Source II (1959). The double ginkgo leaf design, seen in the thief to the left of Christ, was inspired by the ginkgo trees in Jeannette Park, which were visible from Indiana’s loft. Indiana first experimented with the ginkgo motif in a 1957 series of paintings on paper, and it appears in a number of later works, including the The Ginkgo Ài series of 2006.

After completing Stavrosis the artist changed his name from Robert Clark to Robert Indiana. In a 1978 interview with Barbaralee Diamonstein Indiana explained “It happened at a psychological moment when, after struggling as a student, struggling for my own artistic identification, not for the main identity itself, things were coming together. I could feel that something was going to be happening shortly, and I didn’t want to have something nice happen with the burden of a name I didn’t like.”

Medium

Decade

View

Clear Filters
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
UNTITLED

UNTITLED

1945
TECH

TECH

1945
500

500

1945
BEAN BUD

BEAN BUD

1945
MENE MENE TEKEL

MENE MENE TEKEL

1955–56/1989
HUB

HUB

1957/2005
SOURCE I

SOURCE I

1959
THE SLIPS

THE SLIPS

1959–60
SUN AND MOON

SUN AND MOON

1959–60
FOUR

FOUR

1959–62/1972
TWO GOLDEN ORBS

TWO GOLDEN ORBS

1959/2001
GINKGO

GINKGO

1960
RA

RA

1960
SOUL

SOUL

1960
OWL

OWL

1960
ORB

ORB

1960
MOON

MOON

1960
M

M

1960
HOLE

HOLE

1960
GE

GE

1960
WALL OF CHINA

WALL OF CHINA

1960–61
ELECTI

ELECTI

1960–61
MARINE WORKS

MARINE WORKS

1960–62
MATE

MATE

1960–62
TWO

TWO

1960–62
JEANNE D'ARC

JEANNE D'ARC

1960–62
BAR

BAR

1960–62
ZIG

ZIG

1960–62
LAW

LAW

1960–62
AHAB

AHAB

1960–62
STAR

STAR

1960–62
WOMB

WOMB

1960–62
CUBA

CUBA

1960–62
AHAB

AHAB

1960–62, cast 1991
BAR

BAR

1960–62, cast 1991
TWO

TWO

1960–62, cast 1991
GE

GE

1960, cast 1991
HOLE

HOLE

1960, cast 1991
ORB

ORB

1960, cast 1991
MELVILLE

MELVILLE

1961
BALLYHOO

BALLYHOO

1961
HARDROCK

HARDROCK

1961
SLIP

SLIP

1961
DOWN

DOWN

1962
UP

UP

1962
GRASS

GRASS

1962
FOR

FOR

1962
EAT/DIE

EAT/DIE

1962
HUG

HUG

1962
HUB

HUB

1962
EAT

EAT

1962
CHIEF

CHIEF

1962
CHIEF

CHIEF

1962, cast 1991
EAT

EAT

1962, cast 1991
DIE

DIE

1962/1984
GEM

GEM

1962/1984
THE X-5

THE X-5

1963
COLUMN LOVE

COLUMN LOVE

1963–64
COLUMN EAT

COLUMN EAT

1963–64
FLAGELLANT

FLAGELLANT

1963/1969
LOVE

LOVE

1964
LOVE

LOVE

1964
THE ELECTRIC EAT

THE ELECTRIC EAT

1964–2007
ONE

ONE

1964–65
TWO

TWO

1964–65
THREE

THREE

1964–65
FOUR

FOUR

1964–65
FIVE

FIVE

1964–65
SEVEN

SEVEN

1964–65
MY MOTHER

MY MOTHER

1964/1998
MY FATHER

MY FATHER

1964/1998
DILLINGER

DILLINGER

1964/1998
CALL ME ISHMAEL

CALL ME ISHMAEL

1964/1998
CALL ME INDIANA

CALL ME INDIANA

1964/1998
BOB'S COLUMN

BOB'S COLUMN

1964/1998
SIX

SIX

1965
EIGHT

EIGHT

1965
NINE

NINE

1965
ZERO

ZERO

1965
SIX

SIX

1965
ALABAMA

ALABAMA

1965
MODEL T

MODEL T

1966
FLORIDA

FLORIDA

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966
666

666

1966
LOVE

LOVE

1966–1999
THE ELECTRIC LOVE

THE ELECTRIC LOVE

1966–2000
LOVE WALL

LOVE WALL

1966–2006
LOVE

LOVE

1967
PARROT

PARROT

1967
ORANGES

ORANGES

1969–78
APOGEE

APOGEE

1970
ART

ART

1970
ART

ART

1972–2001
AHAVA

AHAVA

1977
MONARCHY

MONARCHY

1981
FIVE

FIVE

1984
MARS

MARS

1990
MARS

MARS

1990, cast 2016
ICARUS

ICARUS

1992
EVE

EVE

1997
AMOR

AMOR

1998–2006
COMET

COMET

2000
ÀI

ÀI

2002
ÀI

ÀI

2002