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February 5, 2014

The Large Crucified Christ, Salzburg

For a better analysis of Gero crucifix, the paper will be divided into different paragraphs with each paragraph covering a different aspect. In the first paragraph, I will focus on the historical context of the cross and the type of art it falls under. The style used by the artist to come up with the object will form the matter of discussion in the third paragraph. The basic description of the physical components of the object will be at the fourth paragraph. The fifth paragraph will be used to discuss the message that the object is relaying to the viewers. The last 4 paragraphs would be a reflection of my views developed from observing the object and a comparison of the Gero crucifix and another crucifix.The Romanesque art is evolved in Europe and was characterized by the different artists’ choice of vigorous styles in paintings and sculptures. The art objects and paintings produced at that time mostly dealt with the subject of Life of Christ, the Last Judgment and the Christ in Majesty. The crucifix is also referred to as the Gero Crucifix was created around 965-970 making it the oldest Christ crucifix in the Alps. Art historians regard it to be the largest crucifix made at that time. Gero who was the Archbishop of Cologne, commissioned the crucifix before his death in 976 and the Cross is at each time on display in Cologne Cathedral.
The crucifix is a representation of the gothic style of art that cropped up during the medieval period. The style depended on the region, which the artist hailed from and art historians acknowledge it as the major innovation that happened at the start of the medieval period. Religious beliefs and backgrounds of the artists and the surrounding community mainly influenced the gothic style. During the medieval period, the main religion of was Christianity with the Catholic Church prevailing across Europe. The Church not only influenced faith but power and wealth as well.
The figure measures around 187 cm high while the arms span in around 165cn giving it its large size. The painter initially carved the sculpture in oak but with time, there has been the changing of the painting and the visible gild making it appear to be well maintained. In the earlier created sculptures of Jesus, his head was erect facing straight ahead but in the Gera Cross, his body is twisted and his head is slumped. He has a long hair, which spreads over his shoulders while his knees appear bent sideways. The show that Jesus actually died, the artists made the sculpture with his eyes closed. To show the pain that Jesus went through, his muscles appear stretched to their full limits with the chest and right shoulders appear ripped apart while his face is contorted. Another evidence of the pain he went through is that his body appears to sag under his weight.
The object symbolizes the pain that Jesus went through to bring salvation to mankind. The artist brings out this pain in the object buy contorting the face, carving the muscles such that they appear fully stretched. The symbolism used in the object is meant to help a viewer relate with the struggle, Jesus felt for the attainment of salvation, and this helps them grow in faith. The object clearly brings out the message that the suffering and death of was real, that people should do as ordered by God to ensure that Jesus’ suffering, and death is not in vain.
Jesus forms part of the divinity and an object representing him successfully represents divinity. The object is of Jesus who is God’s son who went through a lot of pain to bring salvation to mankind. The object is a representation of the progress, which Christianity had undergone through the years and this makes people appreciate the death of Jesus.
I had different reactions from the viewing of the object and the technique used by the artist fascinated me. The artist has curved the object to help portray the struggle that Jesus went through during that time. The artist has successfully managed to come up with a contorted face that reveals the pain he was going through. I was able to relate with the pain he felt and this helped me appreciate his death and improve my faith. Through the technique, it appears that Jesus’ skin is stretched and this further helps in the portraying of the pain he went through.
During a study of the other medieval crucifix objects, I was able to find out that the Jesus’ head was upright facing forward. His body appeared upright and the diversion of this trend by the artist shows creativity. Jesus’ head is facing down and is tilted on the right and side while his legs are bent at the knees on one direction. The artist has not extensively used color to the object as he uses the lines to portray the intended features in the object. The artist has however acknowledged the impact of color in an object by thickly coloring the waist region to portray the piece of clothe Jesus was covered by. To represent the hair, he artist used a black color and this makes it too easy for a person to note the several features in the object.
The image is disturbing because of the artist’s decision to make Jesus’ eyes appear closed which is meant to remind people that Jesus actually died for their salvation. This site is disturbing as it reminds me of the pain that he experienced. One thing that I can identify with from the object is the pain it portrays. The contorted face and the stretched skin make me relate and imagine what he went through during his crucifixion. The story of the persecution of Jesus has been clearly explained in the Bible and this makes me not become contemplative after viewing the image. The issue of seeking for redemption moves me as I find it bad to make the death of Jesus to be in vain. Jesus died for the salvation of mankind but it is up to us to seek God to gain eternal life.
Religious people and art historians concur that the main theme in the crucifix is the issue of repentance. The crucifix was to push people to repent their sins as Jesus had brought salvation to them following his death. The artist has adopted a specific style in making of the art work and this was to make people relate with the events portrayed in the crucifix. One can easily recognize the suffering Jesus went through a brought out in the painting. They are urged not to let Jesus suffering and death go to waste and so they should lead a righteous life and follow his teachings in order to go to heaven.
Other sculptural artists have come up with crucifix similar to the Gero crucifix but a keener look into the crucifixes brings out the differences and similarities that exist among them. One popular crucifix that has some resemblance to the Gero crucifix is the crucifix on display at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. One notable difference between the two crucifixes is the color choice used by the artists. The Gero crucifix has a golden color appeal making it appear extremely bright while the Boston’s crucifix is on a silver background. His head is facing down and is tilted on the right and side while his legs are bent at the knees on one direction. In both sculptures, his face is also contorted while his skin appears stretched to portray the pain he went through. The Boston crucifix is different from the other medieval crucifix objects as Jesus’ head was upright facing forward. The Boston crucifix is also a huge object as it measures 187 cm. the artist also diverged from the normal representation of Jesus in the crucifix by creating a platform where Jesus’ feet appear to be resting a concept that is now referred to as the shoes creativity.

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