Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Christian Soul Contemplating Christ

In Christ After the Flagellation Contemplated by the Christian Soul, drawn by the artist Diego Velázquez, Christ is shown on the ground in quite obvious pain. In the foreground of the picture, the instruments of torture that were used on Christ are made visible to the viewer.
Why are the whips and ropes put in the front of the painting as opposed to the back?

The Christian Soul, which is personified as kneeling child, sits looking at Christ in awe as Christ is suffering. The Guardian Angel stands behind the little boy looking on in sadness.

To set the mood in this painting, Diego Velázquez has Christ tied up to a pillar with a couple strands of rope and bloody whips and cloths surrounding him. There is absolutely nothing in the picture besides the 3 figures, the instruments of torture, and the pillar that Christ is bound to. This could leave the viewer with a sort of empty feeling. The eye is directed straight to the illuminated head and body of Christ. They then shift from Christ to the Guardian Angel and then to the Christian soul, or vise versa.

While contemplating the many messages behind this painting, it is clear that suffering and admiration are two predominant features of this painting. The expressions on the figure’s faces are self-explanatory on their own, but Christ looks as though he is warn down but relieved at the same time. This may have to do with the fact that the beatings seem to be over for the time being, seeing as how the whips have been placed on the ground and no one is torturing Christ in the picture. 

The face of the Christian soul seems to exude sorrow and pain, which is almost the same as that of Christ. Though he looks sad, he also looks as though he is admiring Christ for his bravery and strength.

Lastly, the Guardian Angel standing, pointing at Christ seems to be urging the young boy to look upon him. It is as if the angel is pointing out Christ’s suffering to all of the Christian people (souls) to show what he had to go through for them, and all that it took out of him.
Does this make the Christian people, or the human race for that matter, appreciate the suffering of Christ even more?

The viewers of this painting may have mixed feelings, and it may not affect people whatsoever. Power, sadness, and pain are all illustrated in this one work of art, making it a very strong piece.

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