Sunday, March 9, 2008


Peter Paul Ruben, The Deposition

Unfortunately, I haven't found images on the web of the amazing 10 foot high Ruben paintings on "defense of the Eucharist" that we saw at the Ringling Museum. It turns out that Ruben was born a Protestant, but later converted with his mother to Catholicism. He was an important painter of the Counter-Reformation. Most of his religious work "defends the truth of the faith" against Protestant attack.

From what I remember of Art 100, this is an unusal painting which shows the "heaviness" of Christ's dead body. Painters usuasally show Christ as rail thin and frail. (Check out your own church crucifix next week). Showing Christ as "barely human" is supposed to communicate his divine nature. Ruben takes the opposite approach. We get a sense of Christ's fully developed muscles, of the complete weight of his dead body which takes several mourners to unload from the cross. This loss of a fully human Jesus communicates the despair and loss of Good Friday.