Saturday, February 20, 2016

Grunewald's Crucifixion - Hands and Feet

Continuing our meditation on the crucifixion by Mathias Grünewald, we focus today on the hands and feet of Jesus, pierced mercilessly by atrocious nails. One can see the contortions of the muscles in one of his hands. Those were the same hands that helped his father in the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, the same hands that helped his other Mary in daily domestic chores. Those were the same hands that changed the water into wine, that healed many sick people, that raised Lazarus and others. Those were the hands that fed the five thousand men, that changed the bread and wine into His own Body and Blood. And now those same hands are being tortured. These same hands were shown to Thomas after the Resurrection, and later on blessed the apostles before Jesus ascended into heaven.
The feet of Jesus too are depicted in a most gruesome way. They too were nailed to the wood of the cross, pierced most probably through the navicular or cuneiform bones. These were the same feet that trod the hills of Galilee, that climbed the Mount of the Beatitudes, Mount Tabor and finally the Mount of Olives. These were the same feet that walked on water. The same feet that as a little child ran and jumped and played with his friends.  These were the feet that climbed the hill of Calvary, that fell three times on the way there. Grünewald paints the feet as if resting temporarily on a horizontal piece of wood, so that the crucified can rest his feet and still be able to breathe, prolonging the painful death.

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