Who Will Love Him More? by James Seward - Detail

. Digital Open Paper, Signed
Dimensions: 9 x 12
Release Date: 11-2011
Code: JSE008PRSON0912
Edition Size: Open
Issue Price: $35.00


. Digital Open Paper
Dimensions: 9 x 12
Release Date: 4-2008
Code: JSE008GADUS0912 - JSE008
Edition Size: Open
Issue Price: $30.00


Who Will Love Him More? by James Seward - Full Image

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Luke 7:36-50

Simon, a Pharisee, has invited Jesus to come and eat with him. As they ate a woman came in with an alabaster container of ointment. Weeping, she washed his feet with the ointment. Simon and his friends were amazed that this woman, noted as a sinner, would come in and do such an extravagant thing.


Jesus, being aware of Simon's derogatory attitude, spoke to him in a parable of a creditor which had two debtors, one owing 500 pence and the other 5 pence. The creditor forgave them both. Which of them will love him (the creditor) most? Simon answered, "To whom he forgave the most." Jesus replied, "You have rightly judged."

Jesus admonished Simon for his lack of love. He had not washed His feet, had given Him no kiss. This woman showed her love of Jesus by her tears, kissing His feet and anointing. The final point was that she loved Him very much. Though her sins were many, Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven." My own comment: Do you see the tremendous grace and love of God?

Simon, a Pharisee, was probably a rather wealthy man, with servants and many acquisitions for living comfortably. The scene takes place in his courtyard, and open area surrounded by rooms, sometimes with a roof, sometimes left open. According to the wealth of the owner, the courtyard was used for animals, baking, as a work area, and for other household activities. The wealthier owner used the space for entertainment and meals.

In this painting, a meal was served with a certain amount of elegance. The tables were usually U-shaped with couches around the table. The servants could move into the opening of the U to serve the guests. Guests would lie on the couches and lean on the elbows using their fingers to serve themselves.

Pictured in the painting are four water jugs that you would find in a Jewish home. I went to an exhibition of archeological finds in the Maltz Jewish Museum in Beachwood (Cleveland, Ohio), and saw these magnificent jars and containers for food. Each held about 20 gallons of water or wine and were about 36 inches tall. No photography was allowed so I made drawings of them and bought a small book depicting the jars, plus other articles and vessels of Biblical times. I also went to a Jewish religious store and bought a prayer shawl, called a "tallis", for my models to wear for the painting. The lady posing for the woman is Jewish and was quite familiar with the story. She has posed for me for other paintings.

In doing these religious paintings, I try to do as much research as possible. I look at the paintings of the Orientalists that were done in the 1700 and 1800s. Tissot, who spent most of his time painting for a Douay version of the Bible, painted in the 1800s. His works were as close as I can find for accuracy of the area and clothing, etc., before modern times took over in Israel. Regardless of looking at these other artists' works, I rely on museums as much as I can.

In addition to trying to be as accurate as possible, I hope my work depicts the tremendous love and grace of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

                                                                            - James E. Seward

About The Artist

James Seward was born in Alabama, and raised in Tennessee. He spent summers with his grandparents in the wild back-country of Alabama. When he was six, his grandfather bought him his first set of oil paints, and as a young child he often painted his grandparents by lamp-light, to their great astonishment. "From the time I was five years old, I was continually painting and drawing in that great environment,” the artist remembers with fondness.

After military service, Seward spent a year studying art under Howard Boyd Johnson at Watkins Institute in Nashville. In 1947, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met his wife, Lyn. A year later they were married.

After graduation, Seward apprenticed at two Chicago commercial art studios, but in 1954, the family moved to the midwest. After a year with an agency, he joined Union Gospel Press for the next six years. Since that time, Seward has been self-employed as a freelance illustrator and painter and has created works for most of the large protestant denominations including Standard Publishing in Cincinnati, the Methodists and Baptists in Nashville, the Concordia Lutherans in St. Louis, and the Nazarene Publishing House.

Although the artist had attended church since childhood, after leaving for the Navy in 1944, he dropped his church attendance. In 1953, two former friends with whom he’d lost contact felt moved to pray for his salvation. And in 1954 when he and his family attended church with a neighbor, Jim and Lyn gave their lives to Christ..

Currently Jim is an ordained minister for the "Christ-Life Fellowship” headquartered in Dallas, Texas. He has spoken around the United States as well as in South Africa. He writes articles, makes teaching tapes and works on religious books. His religious paintings express his passion for Christ.

Seward has completed over 22 illustrations for a Doubleday book entitled, Ancient Greece. In 1987 and 1989, he was one of 100 artists from around the country picked for the National Arts in the Parks Competition. James E. Seward has been commissioned for portraitures by many organizations. His paintings grace the walls of such companies as the General Motors Corporation, the Wells Fargo Bank, The McDonald Investment Company, and the Will Rogers Museum in Oklahoma.

"I try not only to inform, but to move and delight with my artwork…I want the viewer to have an emotional reaction to each painting. That’s what makes it a work of art rather than just an illustration.” - James E. Seward

James Seward passed away in December 2011

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