Krishen Khanna's Lazarus Come Forth is a powerful rendition of an important Biblical passage. At the age of six Khanna's father came back from Milan with a copy of The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. This was the beginning of a life long fascination with Christian imagery. The exact Biblical reference of the painting is St John, Chapter 11 - Verse 43: And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
Khanna has placed his own interpretation upon the theme, Christ has no halo and bears little resemblance to the Christ images we are familiar with. There is no undulating rolling landscape that would have been seen in earlier biblical works by Piero Della Francesca or Fra Angelico for example. "I painted Jesus, not in the image given by European painters, but as one of the fakirs one sees around Hazrat Nizamuddin." (As told to Chanda Singh, "Looking Beyond His Canvas", India Magazine, September 1984). Khanna's adaptation to an Indian context allows for a greater identification with the scene and the figures in the painting.