And no, it isn't idolatry to use images as an aid to our worship (see my post Do Catholics Worship Statues?)
In that spirit I thought I'd share hear some of my favorite images of Christ, excluding those recognized instantly worldwide e.g. Michelangelo's Pieta and Last Judgement or Leonardo's Last Supper, and confining myself to Italian masters whose works are on public display.
- names of the artists
- original titles of the works
- where you can visit these masterpieces in persona
- dates of the master's life
You'll note all these artists all worked between 1225 and 1680, a period stretching from the revival of the arts in the High Middle Ages to the end of the Baroque. Dante tells us fame is fleeting,
Oh vana gloria de l'umane posse! com' poco verde in sul la cima dura, se non è giunta da l'etati grosse! (Purgatorio, 11.91-93)
O vanity of human powers,
how briefly lasts the crowning green of glory,
unless an age of darkness follows!
We remember these men. Whether or not we can conclude this period was therefore "an age of darkness" (the neoclassicism of the Enlightenment to modern abstract "art"), I'll leave to my readers to decide.
My personal top ten:
9. Cristo coronato di spine; Annibale Carracci, 1560-1609 (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden)
7. Salvator Mundi; Gianlorenzo Bernini, 1598-1680 (San Sebastiano fuori le mura; Rome, Italy)
5. Il Crocifisso; Maestro della Croce 434, mid-13th century (Uffizi, Florence, Italy)
5. Il Bacio di Guida (detail); Giotto di Bondone, 1266-1337 (Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua, Italy)
4. Incredulità di San Tommaso; Caravaggio, 1592-1610 (Sanssouci Picture Gallery; Potsdam, Germany)
1. Giudizio Universale; Coppo di Marcovaldo, 1225-1276 (Battistero di San Giovanni, Florence, Italy)
Which of these do you like best?
What are some of your favorite depictions of Our Lord?
You might also enjoy these posts:
Love Catholic Art? You'll want to consider this book:
Wondering why our churches are not full of masterpieces (and why the buildings look less like houses of God and more like factories or assembly halls)? You'll want to read this book:
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