Thursday, October 19, 2006

Art Appreciation Thursday

As is often the case, this baffling piece of religious art came to me via email. This one had something insipidly inspirational that squirted through my mind and oozed out of my ear, apparenty, because I have no memory of what was inside. The sugary devotional thought fluttered away when this image caught my eye.

Maybe it's the radioactive halo. Okay, I understand that a halo is artistic shorthand for deity, but the blazing corona around the edge is pushing the envelope a little, I think. But that's just me. Perhaps the artist had in mind to foreshadow the resurrection and thus was depicting Jesus as the "Sun of Righteousness" of Malachi 4:2.

I was gonna comment about the very caucasian skin tone of Jesus in this pic, but I decided to let that go. Maybe he's just pale after all of that blood loss.

My eyes are drawn over and over to our Lord's left ear, which seems to be stuck on sideways. Maybe this was to make Malchus feel better. (Whew! Dodged that lightning bolt!)

What really caught my attention first, though, was that Jesus appears to be catching his own blood in a chalice! I thought perhaps the artist had in mind Jesus words at the Last Supper, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood." And so, Jesus was holding the cup, offering his blood in the sacramental meal. My second thought on this was, "Jesus' hands were fastened to the cross. There's no way he could hold that cup!" Then I saw the cross decoration on the cup and the apparently nailprint-free hands. This is, then, the hands of the priest or minister holding the cup, and thus the reminder of Jesus' presence at the Eucharist, be it transubstantially (probably what this image depicts), spiritually, symbolically, or whatever.

I'm pretty sure that the email message that this came with has nothing to do with the Lords Supper at all.

4 comments:

Gregory said...

Nice word usage, Allen.

Transubstantially = 10 Points

Gregory said...

By the way,I love the word you use to describe the devotional thought: sugary.

Most devotionals describe me as being that way: sugary or overly flowery.

...sorry for the double post.

Carolina Cannonball said...

Actually the "halo" is the Eucharist. This is a very common Catholic image seen on holy cards.

Yes they are the hands of a priest preforming the act of Consecration of the host.

Catholic believe in transubstation and that the Eucharist is 100% the Body & Blood of Christ. Christ is fully present in the form of the Eucharist [the halo :)] and that is what this image is portraying, His Real Presence.

I am an iconographer... I know lots of stuff about the symbolism used to represent Christ. Go 'head... quiz me. :)

Allen said...

Thank you for the education! There's a previous "art appreciation" post that you might be able to shed some additional light upon. Just enter "art appreciation" into the search window.