Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Crucifixion

Ivory depiction of the Crucifixion of Christ (British Museum 420 AD)
This is one of the earliest known depictions of the Crucifixion in Christian art. It was made in Rome about AD 420-30, at a time when the Roman empire in Western Europe was fragmenting. The panel is one of four, originally mounted on the sides of a small ivory casket, each carved with a scene from Christ’s Passion. This panel is exhibited at the British Museum in London. In this image the Crucifixion is combined with another scene of death: the suicide of the disciple Judas after he has betrayed Jesus. The stiff, clothed body of Judas pulls down the branch of a tree, and a spilled sack of coins lies at his feet. In contrast the exposed limbs of Christ still appear vigorous, and he gazes at the viewer, triumphant in death. A plaque over Christ’s head is inscribed REX IUD (King of the Jews). The Virgin Mary and John the Baptist stand to the left of the cross, while on the right Longinus steps from beneath the arm of the cross, just before he pierces Jesus’ side with a lance.

No comments:

Post a Comment