Series of 160 Devotional Paintings Offer Reverential Treatment For Easter Observances

Share Article

A series of 160 paintings by the late William Kurelek focuses on the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection.

Now a new DVD combines the talents of two Canadian artists – William Kurelek, the painter, and filmmaker Philip Earnshaw – in a reverential portrayal of the most solemn of celebrations in the Christian calendar.

When he first conceived the series of canvasses in the early 1960s, Kurelek intended that his paintings of “The Passion of Christ” be committed to film. Produced four years after the painter's death in 1977 at age 50, the 28-minute film earned accolades from reviewers when it was first released. Earnshaw's sensitive treatment of the deeply religious paintings was greeted with such terms as "remarkable," "reverent," and "fascinating."

"It is the most ambitious series of devotional art of the 20th Century," Earnshaw says. "Not too many people know about it – it's a remarkable body of work and it's been overlooked for too long. I admired Kurelek and I found the passion of his faith inspiring."

The film has been re-released in DVD format in the hope that Kurelek's portrayal of Christ's last days on earth and his resurrection will reach a whole new audience.

The film tells the story of The Passion According to St. Matthew without resorting to the graphic violence depicted in the similarly-titled live-action movie of 2004. As a result, The Kurelek-Earnshaw collaboration is recommended for viewing by children.

The narration is delivered by Canadian actor Len Cariou. The soundtrack by composers Frank Falco and Jane Fair underscores the deeply moving atmosphere of the film.

"There is ample evidence of one disciplined mind communicating with another," Gerard Campbell wrote in a review for Cinema Canada in 1982, referring to Earnshaw's cinematic treatment. "It is entirely proper to rejoice at what is a happy collaboration." Victor Goldbloom of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews called the film "beautiful."

"The Passion of Christ" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won a Chris Plaque in 1982 at the Columbia Film Festival. It has also had a rare special screening at the Vatican.

For information on “The Passion of Christ,” go to

For media inquiries, contact: Laurel-Lea Shannon seme @

The following photographs are available in high resolution upon request:

  • William Kurelek
  • Scribes Mocking Christ
  • Christ Crucified
  • Christ Resurrected
  • Philip Earnshaw

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Laurel-Lea Shannon
613 264 5423
Email >
Visit website