Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Dead Christ

Crivelli Christ Posted by Hello

I am completely stunned by this image. It wasn't until I read the title that I realized that Christ was dead (in the picture--I maybe dense, but wow). It strikes me as one of the most tender portrayals of Christ I have ever seen. Look at his hand--it's almost like a paw, as if the angel is helping him with a thorn. The look on the angels face is so sad as well--an overburdened child, and grief on a face that was never created for that emotion. Christ looks as if he's sleeping. The angels, children, seem to overwhelmed with the weight of it. How will they carry him? I'm haunted by this image. It's the most human image of Christ I have seen, or perhaps the most compelling, as it asks you to care for him, weep for him, help the angels to lay him down.

The Crivelli that I saw in the National Gallery were among the most exciting that I saw my whole trip. He took pieces of objects--glass, metal, a wooden key--and placed them in the painting (I thought Klimt was the first for that). The paintings are beatiful aesthetically and technically. There is a great St. Michael, with lions faces on his knee guards, holding scales, standing on a black clawed demon. There is also a St. Lucy with her eyes on a plate.

Pardon me, but if a contemporary woman ripped her eyes out because a pagan man complimented her beauty, would we be so quick Saint her? I'm not following. St. Crazy maybe? I am not out to offend Catholics, but I have never understood the zeal to self destroy under the guise of getting closer to God. I guess it's easier for us to understand self-mutilation as a path of self-destruction and self-hatred. But if say, you believe God creates all--including us, and all is sacred--including us, what part of destroying that creation makes you closer to God? It must be part of the hatred of the flesh. If it whos offense, rip it out--maybe she thought he was attractive as well. I'm sure St. Lucy did lots of other nice things, though. I'm sure ripping out her eyes is not the only thing she did to gain Sainthood. Just like Janet made a lot of music before she showed her boob, but you do have to wonder if that will eclipse her other achievements. And why a plate? All Saint images have them holding their mutilated body parts on plates. To serve them? Eeew. Or is it that they suffered for US? And they are offering them to us, as a token of how much they care?

But I digress--the Crivelli are beautiful images, many with gilt aspects that heighten the painted color, rather than detract from it. I am sure he is known everywhere, but this is my first exposure to him that I remember. I'm so glad I've had the pleasure.

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