Friday, April 10, 2009

Seeing the Christ Figure

(Above) Beach Crucifixion, vernacular photograph, © collection of John and Teenuh Foster
Click for larger view.
(Above) Beach Descent from the Cross, vernacular photograph, © collection of John and Teenuh Foster; Click for larger view.
(Above) Station of the Cross: The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
Click for larger view.
(Above) Station of the Cross: Descent from the Cross
Click for larger view.

(Above) Detail from Disputa dei Sacramento - The Triumph of the Christian Faith; by Raphael (c.1508) Stanza della Segnatura, Apostolic Palace, Vatican

I ACQUIRED THE TWO “BATHING BEAUTY” PHOTOS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. From the moment I saw them, I thought the pair represented a great metaphor for the crucifixion and descent from the cross by Jesus. OK—it’s a stretch, but it’s what I see. All of this from the excellent job my Northern Renaissance art history professor, Dr. Lloyd Benjamin, did on me at East Carolina University in 1972.

Let’s look at the top photo. Check out the grimace on the woman’s face and the outstretched arms. And, let’s not forget the crossed feet where the bottom nail was driven. It appears she is holding a salt shaker in her left hand—forget about that.

The photo under the first one— this is the dead Christ figure if I have ever seen one. Look at the shape of the body, the limp and bent figure. The entire figure has a death-like pose.

Below the “Beach Beauties” are several art historical references.

So, what do you think?


Larry, the Artist said...

I agree. From the pained expressions to the body language, they are quite reminiscent of the story of the crucifixion.

I think we have limited opportunities today to paint glorious panoramas of biblical proportions where you can practically hear the heavenly angels singing.

Spirituality happens when the viewer takes the ordinary and transforms it into the extraordinary.

Robert said...

I think, like a (ECU) Pirate, you have a good eye.


John Foster said...

Robert- me got's only one good eye indeed when searching fer the gold!

Robert said...

Aye, matey, and gold ye have found!

Maureen said...

Same towel, same footprints in the sand, obviously they shot each other. But, a salt shaker?

John Foster said...

Yes Maureen, a salt shaker. In ancient scripture, the classic restaurant shaker was a very important symbol. This has been carried down through the ages to other secret societies, most notably the Shaker sect in Pennsylvania. ;-)

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