A MODERN take on the traditional Stations of the Cross, by nearly 30 artists, will provide a visually striking centrepiece to one of Scotland's growing cultural festivals.

In the fifth year of Lentfest –the annual festival organised by the Archdiocese of Glasgow – the organisers have asked artists such as Peter Howson, John Lowrie Morrison (Jolomo), Sandy Moffat, Richard Demarco and Gerard Burns to contribute to a modern version of the traditional 14-stage depiction of the Passion of Christ for an exhibition at Glasgow University.

So many artists became interested in the project – which will be on show from this week until April 15 – that another series of paintings, illustrating the Jesus narrative from the Resurrection to the Descent of the Holy Spirit, has also been commissioned.

The exhibition, featuring 29 artists in total, is part of the wider Lentfest festival which will be officially launched today at the University of Glasgow.

Stephen Callaghan, artistic director of the festival, said: "The popularity of the exhibition topic illustrates the timelessness of Biblical subject matter and the diversity of the artists will no doubt ensure a wide range of interpretations. We've never had so many artists take part and not all are Christian, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with."

The Stations of the Cross and Resurrection are a set of 28 images which are traditionally used in the Catholic Church to reflect upon the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ.

Mr Callaghan said: "The Via Crucis [Way of the Cross] is better known but there is evidence of a tradition called the Via Lucis [Way of Light], which takes us up to the Descent of the Holy Spirit and this deserves our attention too, because the Christian story does not end with suffering and death but with hope and enlightenment."

The 29th artist is sculptress Kate Robinson, who is working on a three-dimensional work based on the Crucifixion. This will complement an installation featuring a crown of thorns and Roman nails from the 1st century AD – of the type used in crucifixions – which are housed at the Hunterian Museum.

Artists supplying stages to the Via Crucis include festival impresario Demarco (Simon of Cyrene carries the Cross), Howson (Jesus is nailed to the Cross) and James Callaghan (Veronicawipes the face of Jesus). Those providing work for the Via Lucis include Jolomo (Jesus Is Raised From the Dead) and Burns (Jesus Appears On The Road to Emmaus).

Lentfest was the idea of Archbishop Mario Conti, who said: "This year's festival has inspired Scotland's top artists to submit new and original works. There is a new film festival and the travelling production of the play St John Ogilvie will bring drama to communities in the Glasgow area for the next six weeks."

Two of the events feature work by Scotland's leading composer, James MacMillan, who believes the festival is a burgeoning presence in Scotland's cultural scene.

He said: "There are things like cabaret and folk music as well as classical concerts, liturgical work and new drama.

"The small-scale, almost home-made feel of its origins has always excited me, especially now the seeds seem to have taken root."