Created from the same quarry of Carrara marble as used by Michelangelo. This is the first time in art history that Jesus has been shown to hold the hammer, having nailed himself to the cross. The message is that whoever walks the earth, everyone is wholesomely integral to the greater powers by which we are governed. While no one is denied, no one is exempt.
Marble importer, Mr John Mellocco of Sydney, showed his appreciation for a commissioned painting by Robert by arranging for the block to be cut and delivered - a gift of a lifetime. In appreciation, Robert chose a unique subject, with the figure using as much of the block as possible. In the end, the wastage was limited to a small slip on one side: the figure touched the edges of the block on five out of six sides.
The piece is for sale, with a minimum price [it may one day be put to auction] of $92,000. It is located in Robert's studio in Coffs Harbour, NSW.
The following photograph shows the completed work. Jesus is standing on the cross; his right hand holds the hammer. His left hand, unseen from this viewpoint, is nailed to the thinner wooden crossbeam.
Marble is formed by crushed sea creatures and shells deep within the ocean, which is then thrust upward where it is available to quarry. "It is like carving solid moonlight," says Robert, and adds interestingly that the stone is always cool to the touch - even when in direct sunlight.
This is how the carving started ..
And now the artist is well and truly committed to releasing the figure. An intense bond of what can only be described as love exists now between artist and figure.
Artists have for many years used power tools to remove unwanted swathes of stone, but Robert chose to honour Michelangelo's method and carved the block by hand. It is not something to be undertaken lightly. The dust mask was the only thing 'sensible' about it!
Can you feel the figure, trapped?
Care has to be taken not to leave parts of the sculpture vulnerable, such as the fingers and handle, when the heavy blows to the stone release the supporting sections of the work.
And the finished carving was publicly unveiled, in an old air-raid bunker in Coffs Harbour, 1991. The bunker was cleared of head-high rubble, and because there was no electricity, light was supplied by several hundred candles. Modern day regulations and laws would not allow this exhibition - the first in the underground building - to take place.
The bunker has since been converted for use as an art gallery.