Michael Smither (b. 1939) Christ driving the money changers from the temple 1972 oil on hardboard 121 x 169.6cm Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection 

Michael Smither’s painting Christ driving the money changers from the temple is a forceful restatement of a well-known Christian theme. It is one of a number of works made by the artist in the 1970s in which he addressed Christian subjects and updated them for a new and local context. High key in colour and almost cinematic, the painting presents only the basic details necessary for viewers to recognise the story. Smither paints Jesus as a strident and forceful revolutionary. With unquestioned moral authority he attempts to purify the sacred space of the temple. The scene presents a familiar biblical narrative, one that has been called into question by contemporary theological thinking. Rather than commerce being abhorrent to Christian principles, there is now a place for exchange and trade in Christian dogma