Merilyn Thorold/Bridgeman Art Library

A COMMANDING PRESENCE. Jesus overpowers the devil in this lonesome desert landscape, painted in the 14th century on the walls of the church of Sant’Abbondio, in Como, Italy. Mark’s opening chapter portrays Jesus as a bold and somewhat wild prophet who clashes with the devil, demons and anyone else who gets in his way. His impatient reaction to the sick man fits his character—at least as described by Mark.