Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Ronald Grimes

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


A popular Catholic devotion most familiar in images, texts, and rituals, the Stations of the Cross contains the via cruces paradigm which is at the heart of Western Christian culture. In the following text an account of the historical development of the fourteen episode devotion provides a framework from which to examine in detail four visual interpretations of the Stations of the Cross by contemporary Canadian artists. The unusual serial nature and mythic content of the sequence lent a more ritualistic quality to the creative process of each artist so that, in the extended time and space spent working on the series, some aspect of a conflict inherent in art or religion was resolved within the artist’s life. Beth Strachan’s painting embodied the tension she felt in her dual iconoclastic and iconophobic religious heritage; Tony Urquhart used traditionally Christian imagery to evoke a sense of the sacred in a secular urban art gallery; the via cruces paradigm embodied for Fred Hagan the tensions between an individual and society; for the members at the Holy Cross Centre the symbol offered hope for a restored relationship between humans and the earth. Each of these highly individualistic interpretations of a conventional theme suggests the depth and vitality of the Stations of the Cross as a religious symbol that has on-going personal as well as cultural significance. Each series also points to the importance of visual images as an appropriate language for theology.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season