By Beth Williamson

This Very brief creation decodes the main topics, indicators, and emblems present in Christian artwork: the Eucharist, a dead ringer for the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary, the Saints, previous and New testomony narrative imagery, and iconography. It additionally explores the theological and ancient historical past of Christian imagery, from the devotional works of the Medieval and Renaissance classes, to the twenty-first century. Williamson makes use of examples from, among others, Cimabue, Michelangelo, and Rosetti. She concludes by way of outlining the co-existence in modern 'post-Christian' tradition of the intentionally arguable works of artists equivalent to Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili, along the consciously devotional works of these similar to Eric Gill and Peter Blake.

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Extra resources for Christian Art: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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They should not fear the pain and disfigurement connected with physical disease, because Christ’s unimaginably painful death, held up to view here, had secured for them the promise of redemption and resurrection after whatever earthly death a mortal might suffer. The ravaged skin of Christ could be interpreted as showing the Isenheim patients that he bears all their suffering and sickness himself, not only the physical pain of their illnesses, but also the ‘sickness’ of their sin, potentially much more serious and damaging, and yet relieved in its damning effects by Christ’s sacrifice.

Artistic representations also go beyond his death, to show his resurrection, and his post-resurrection apparitions to his followers, as detailed in the Gospels. However, the textual sources focus more heavily on some areas and events in Christ’s life than on others. Jaroslav Pelikan has pointed out that the Gospels give us information about fewer than 100 days in Christ’s life, but that for the last few days of his life they provide ‘a detailed, almost hour-by-hour scenario’. The account of Christ’s death itself – the hours on the cross on Good Friday – forms the climax of the Gospel narrative, and images relating to the Crucifixion are among the most pervasive in Christian art.

Therefore images that illustrate Christ’s life on earth, as a human being, are fundamental to Christian art. Christ is represented as a teacher and preacher, a leader, a healer, a judge, as well as a new-born baby and as a dead man. Artistic representations also go beyond his death, to show his resurrection, and his post-resurrection apparitions to his followers, as detailed in the Gospels. However, the textual sources focus more heavily on some areas and events in Christ’s life than on others.

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Christian Art: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Beth Williamson


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