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Dying Sorrow

An Exhibition by

Daniel Bonnell

inspired by Kahlil Gibran

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest Friend,
for this, thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love to thee.

A verse from the hymn titled “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” by Paul Gerhardt, 1656; based on a Medieval Latin poem ascribed to St. Bernard de Clairvaux; translated from the German by James W. Alexander, 1830 (Mt 27:27-31; Mk 15:16-20; Jn 19:1-5).

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“True beauty is received on a stage of humility; Christ born in a cave, the cross revealing power in weakness - even sacred paintings on a grocery bag.”

- Daniel Bonnell

"The celebrated early 20th century Lebanese-American poet-artist, Kahlil Gibran, best known for his best-selling book The Prophet, which is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of its publication this year, produced several drawings that embrace seeing the Crucifixion within a new form of consciousness. Titled Crucified and The Triangle, they depict three figures entangled with one another, as if in a struggle of existence. Only the center figure (Jesus) is at perfect peace and rest. These drawings are void of any wooden cross or vehicle of execution. It is with this insight to viewing the cross that I chose to produce this series of drawings and mixed media works on grocery bag paper. My hope is that in producing this series I have enabled that 'Divine DNA' that exists in all high art to be carried forward to others, to enable our understanding of beauty to be the very desire we seek in this brief life, no different than a new born baby seeking beauty and life from its mother’s breast.


This series of works on grocery bag paper, depicting the narrative of the Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, are also works that I hope will be regenerated into various forms of life, sparking a new manner of seeing the cross. I hope it will enable others to recreate its essence through other forms of art. For those that are pastors and priests, perhaps it will generate sermons and writings that enable a new way of seeing the Christ being crucified, dead and rising. If the highest understanding of great art is beauty itself, then such beauty already exists from a single point of consciousness into eternity. Kahlil Gibran once said, 'Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in the mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.'"  - Daniel Bonnell

Daniel Bonnell, Two Thieves (1-15), 2022
Mixed media on grocery bag paper
11” x 14” (framed)

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The Triangle by Kahlil Gibran


In 1919, Twenty Drawings by Kahlil Gibran, the early 20th century Lebanese-American poet-artist, appeared in bookshops in New York.Twenty Drawings is a collection of watercolors that represent the human form as an image and personification of Divine Beauty, an emanation of the Eternal. This was the first and only volume published during Gibran’s life to exclusively contain a selection of his paintings. Most of his books were either prose poetry, such as the best-selling book The Prophet (1923), short stories or collections of aphorisms. As a result, most people today know of him as a poet and author, and are unaware that he was an exceptionally gifted visual artist. He studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and was tutored by the major artists of the beginning of the 20th century, such as the celebrated French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Gibran, who grew up in a Maronite Catholic family in Lebanon, saw Jesus as the “perfect man,” having the highest level of proximity with God. He believed Jesus was therefore unequalled in aesthetic and spiritual beauty, confirming the absolute presence of God among humanity. In Gibran’s opinion, the Crucifixion was the highest expression of the greatness of Christ, an event that signified freedom from matter, the sole cause of suffering, and man’s longing for the Infinite.

Two works in Twenty Drawings were titled by Gibran as Crucified and The Triangle. Each are wash drawings that portray two human figures holding onto a third figure. The works demonstrate in exemplary fashion how the traditional image of Christ between the two thieves may also be used in a symbolic sense, as a sacred disposition - as there are no explicit religious elements such as the cross, blood or nails to be seen here.

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Crucified by Kahlil Gibran

Exhibition Catalog


“The mystery of seeing is seeing the mystery.”

- Daniel Bonnell

The Artist

DANIEL BONNELL is one of the most noted sacred artists of the 21st century.  He received his BFA degree from the Atlanta College of Art and his MFA in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design. His post-graduate studies were under the renowned photographer, Ansel Adams, celebrated artist Edward Ross, as well as the renowned designer, Milton Glaser. He was the Winner of The Brother Nathan Cochran Award in Sacred Arts in 2018.  His paintings are found in over 100 countries around the world - in cathedrals, churches and private collections, and in publications of over 30 languages. He is also author of Shadow Lessons, a book about teaching art in the inner city to at-risk high school students, and he is a contributing writer to ArtPulse Magazine, a magazine on contemporary art.  He follows a Franciscan position of ethos that espouses a kenosis position on life. He paints primarily on grocery bag paper, expressing his belief that all real beauty finds rest on a stage of humility, as he sees each work of art as an act of devotion.

For more information, see:

Daniel Bonnell photo - Copy.tiff
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