HAYDON, Benjamin Robert
(b. 1786, Plymouth, d. 1846, London)

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem

Oil on canvas, 396 x 457 cm
Mount St Mary's Seminary, Cincinnati

Haydon was impelled by strong personal faith to undertake his uncommissioned religious canvases. The years of labour he expended on them helped to ruin him. It was his aim to cast out doubt as well as win fame, and in Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, he addressed the issue of doubt directly, assembling past rationalists and sceptics like Voltaire and his own more devout friends like Wordsworth among the watching crowd. Their varied reactions to Christ's appearance amount to a debate on faith.