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Raising of the Cross

jesus garments image art

The Gospels contain few details about the actual process or stages involved with the *Crucifixion of Jesus, although various preparatory episodes are illustrated in art. Byzantine Psalters of the ninth century, illustrating Psalm 22, include scenes of Jesus being nailed to the *cross as well as the soldiers casting lots for his garments (also mentioned in *Matthew 27: 35) fulfilling the Psalm verses “… they pierced my hands and feet” and “They part my garments among them, and cast lots….” The image of Jesus being nailed to the cross, with the cross already upright or on the ground, is taken up in western art by the thirteenth century and is developed into compositions often involving a number of spectators. The scene may appear as an independent image or in cycles following the bearing of the cross to *Calvary. Other motifs of Byzantine origin adopted in later western medieval art are the scenes of Jesus ascending the cross (climbing up a ladder or pushed and pulled by other figures) and Jesus watching while soldiers erect the cross. Further details about the Crucifixion process were also supplied by apocryphal accounts (e.g., the Acts of Pilate ) and many later medieval mystical and devotional treatises . It is primarily from these sources that images such as Jesus being stripped of his garments derive. A soldier may be shown pulling off Jesus’ robe, or Jesus may undress himself. In late medieval art especially in northern Europe, the scene of a seated Jesus, stripped of his garments, usually apart from a loincloth, develops into a type of devotional image known as Christus im Elend (“Christ in Distress”) which appears in painting and sculpture of the late fourteenth century. This focused image represents Jesus’ final suffering and humiliation before the Crucifixion. The cross, *Instruments of the Passion, and mocking, witnessing, or mournful figures may or may not be included.
Ralegh, Sir Walter (c. 1552–1618) - BIOGRAPHY, CRITICAL RECEPTION [next] [back] Raising of Lazarus

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