The Passion of the Painters
April 13, 2004 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Thema: Passion Very good German site with depictions of the Passion of the Christ in the history of the art, from El Greco to Antonello da Messina, from Il Guercino to Botticelli. And there also, among many others, Rembrandt and Schiele and Rubens and Caravaggio Plenty of other good links here. As Bernard Berenson wrote, "A painter’s first business is to rouse the tactile sense, for I must have the illusion... (more inside)
posted by matteo (7 comments total)
... of being able to touch a figure, I must have the illusion of varying muscular sensations inside my palm and fingers corresponding to the various projections of this figure, before I shall take it for granted as real, and let it affect me lastingly". I mean, it's hard not to be affected by this kind of art, isn't it?
As Peter Schjeldal wrote in the New Yorker, What interests Rembrandt in works about Jesus is how other people react to the god-man. The apocalyptic drypoint “Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves” (1653), seen in three versions in the show, conveys Rembrandt’s wondering sense of Christianity: the sacrifice of Jesus dropped like a bomb into history, blowing everything askew. In several pictures, he envisions Jesus dead—for example, the limp, heavy body being lowered, with difficulty, from the Cross. Corpses are inconvenient objects. The sight of this one tests belief. Did Rembrandt believe? I think so, but it seems to be the enigma—the fantastic, sheer improbability—of Christ that excited him.
My personal favorite? Mantegna's Cristo Morto
More links on same topic here
posted by matteo at 4:09 PM on April 13, 2004

of course I planned to post this on Good Friday, but life is strange, something happened and I couldn't make it -- wanna make God laugh, tell Her your plans, right?

posted by matteo at 4:10 PM on April 13, 2004

other pages (mit thumbnails) from the main German site are here and here and here
posted by matteo at 4:35 PM on April 13, 2004

if you look at Rubens' Jesus, you see exactly Jonathan Jones' point when he writes that
there is something gooey, organic, membraneous to Rubens. He is stereotyped as the painter of rolling flesh, and so he is. But it is what Rubens does to flesh, the agonies and torments and delights to which he subjects naked men and women, that sends you out of Lille's Palais des Beaux-Arts with a touch of the vapours.
Most of all it is the colour he finds in flesh that sticks in the brain. Grey, blue, green, yellow - Rubens sees European skin in just about every colour except pink. If people are white, they are white like a star. Sometimes they are golden. More often they are particoloured ruddy tapestries. And quite a lot of the time, they are an unhealthy olive.
Rubens, this genius of living flesh, is simultaneously - and necessarily, in order to describe what life is - preoccupied by the appearance of death in the body. Death is one of his great subjects.

posted by matteo at 5:14 PM on April 13, 2004

This is great stuff matteo - thanks!
posted by nomis at 5:14 PM on April 13, 2004

thanks! rubens is one of my favorites and i couldn't agree more with jones' interpretation of color. god, what vivid paintings!

your post reminded me of bernini's famous The Ecstasy of S. Teresa di Avila.
posted by poopy at 5:31 PM on April 13, 2004

Very nice. Thank you.
posted by ColdChef at 8:55 PM on April 13, 2004

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