|The Isenheim Altarpiece (detail, central panel), 1512-16, Mathias Grunewald|
Copyright, Jim Lane
The Death, 1999, Jim Lane
|Isenheim Altarpiece (detail)|
|The Crucified Christ, 1610-11|
Peter Paul Rubens
During the next several weeks, in several topical, (non-consecutive) postings, I plan to take a look at that foundation and the edifice of Christ's life as seen by dozens of artists over the past thousand years. These men have molded and colored our mental images of the Christ we are commanded to remember. Some of these artists are world renown. Others are little-known or totally anonymous. Likewise, their art ranges from historic masterpieces to highly personal, sometimes even inaccurate characterizations of solemn beauty reflecting interpretations of scripture common in their time or imposed upon them by religious authorities.
I shall be writing from a Christian point of view fully realizing that not all who read my words accept the historic figure of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, the son of God, or even the existence of a monotheistic godhead. Nonetheless, that does not lessen the importance of Jesus and his teachings in the shaping of civilized man, nor His impact upon art. This is primarily an art history lesson in which I will be mentioning artists, and captioning the works displayed with the usual title, date, and name of the artist. The purpose in revealing these works is to broaden your mental archive of images of Jesus Christ and make more familiar those who have fostered these images. If we are to remember the Lord's death until he comes again, it would seem just as important to recall the life leading to that death inasmuch as His life places his death in context and makes it all the more meaningful.
|Christ the Good Shepherd, 3rd. Century|
|The Good Shepherd, Simon Dewey|
|Bust of Christ ,1585, El Greco|
|Sacred Heart, Bosseron Chambers|
|Change, 2010, Shepard Fairey|
(after Bosseron Chambers)
As a new millennium began a few years ago, the Catholic church promoted a contest to spur artist in modernizing their image of Christ. The winner was Janet McKenzie with her Christ 2000 (below, left). The model was a woman. A hundred years earlier, Heinrich Hoffman saw Jesus in this manner in his Christ at Thirty-three (below, right). Of course NONE of these images are accurate. The Bible purposely does not describe Jesus in any way except to suggest he was in no way exceptional in appearance.
|Christ 2000, Janet McKenzie|
|Christ at Thirty-three, Heinrich Hoffman|
|The Shroud of Turin, (face detail)|
|The Passion of Christ, 2004, Mel Gibson. |
The body and the blood--Too accurate a depiction?