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The Image of Christ

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Christ is recognisable in all sorts of images: in painting, sculpture, film and illustration. His likeness is familiar, yet the Gospels and Early Christian texts do not provide any information about his appearance. This book, produced to accompany the millennial exhibition Seeing Salvation: the Image of Christ at the National Gallery, London, reveals how the challenge of representing Christ has been confronted through the ages. It explores how artists have portrayed someone who is both God and man, human and divine, mortal and immortal. The story of the changing image of Christ is revealed through a detailed look at a number of paintings, prints and three-dimensional objects, from the Early Christian era to the twentieth century. In the earliest items he is represented principally by symbols and images the Good Shepherd, the Light, the Vine, Alpha and Omega, and so on; these have proved to be potent and enduring metaphors. The authors go on to show how a concern with his 'true likeness' emerged, based on miraculous 'true' images - particularly the 'Veronica' image - the likeness Christ imprinted on the cloth held out to him by Saint Veronica on the way to Calvary. Also illustrated are a number of works focusing on Christ's childhood, which confront the problem of representing the paradox of his dual nature as someone who is weak and powerful, victim and victor. The discussion of the iconography of the Passion demonstrates how, from a devotional point of view, images of Christ's suffering could induce a sense of sorrow for sin and gratitude to God. Finally, the authors look at how artists have translated into the images the idea that Christ lives on, and that the teachings and events of his life continue to have a profound impact.
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About the Author

Gabriele Finaldi is Curator of Later Italian and Spanish Painting at the National Gallery.


"Engaging ... a novel approach to [a] seemingly familiar subject ... insightful."-Jeremy W. H. Arnold, Religious Studies Review -- Jeremy W. H. Arnold Religious Studies Review

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