Louis Smiths painting St Dismas was inspired by Salvador Dali’s painting of Jesus.
Louis decided to a similar version depicting St Dismas because for him the St Dismas story is one of hope, its never to late to change your ways, no matter what you have done in the past it doesn’t mean you have to take it with you into the future.
He wanted to capture a feeling of liberation as if St Dismas was like a bird flying through space, like an outstretched eagle, with the wind blowing up through his hair.
The story of St Dismas. He was a thief who dwelled in the desert and robbed or murdered anyone unlucky enough to cross his path. According to Pope Saint Gregory the Great he “was guilty of blood, even his brother’s blood”. St Dismas is crucified alongside Jesus and Gestas, he defends Jesus from Gestas’s insults and asks to be forgiven for his own crimes. Jesus decides to forgive the good thief and invites him into the kingdom of heaven.
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation. And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:39-43
Manchester Cathedral Exhibit 2015
In the easter of 2015, Louis’s painting of “The Good Thief” was used as a backdrop to the easter celebration held at the Cathedral.