Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Moorfields Eye Hospital, City Road EC1

This small sculpture stands over the entrance to the 1933 extension to the famous Moorfields Eye Hospital.
It represents the story of the blind man Bartimaeus, who was begging by the side of the road from Jericho as Jesus passed by.
On hearing who was near, Bartimaeus began to make a fuss, calling for Jesus to have mercy. One of the perceptive little details that so often crop up in the Gospels is that the bystanders tried to get him to stop being such a nuisance, "but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me."
In the sculpture, Jesus stands over Bartimaeus with his fingers touching his eyes. In the Gospel story, he asks "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?", to which the blind man said "Domine, ut videam (Lord, that I might receive my sight)."
Christ then memorably says "Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole."
The sculptor, the deeply religious Eric Gill, gets the scene slightly wrong, I feel. It looks as though Jesus is applying a healing touch to the blind man, when actually he cured himself.


LondonRemembers said...

Thanks for identifying this as Gill. Do you mean "1933" extension?

Chris Partridge said...

Yes. Thanks for pointing that out...