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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the immediate aftermath of Chalcedon, the function of the icon is to transport the one who venerates it into a transcendent realm. The common idea is that art later came to portray Christ more naturalistically, bringing his humanity to the fore. But this story neglects the fact that icons also show Christ’s humanity and later mediaeval art also seeks his divinity in depicting his suffering. The author argues that to understand mediaeval images of the crucified Christ, we must see double, viewing the image both as a memorial of an historical fact and as an eschatological foreseeing of the Last Judgement, recognizing that Christ’s two natures are both under scrutiny. We think that when mediaeval art shows the ‘blood and gore’ of the crucifixion it is telling us about Christ’s humanity, but mediaeval people saw the crucifixion as the apex of the epiphany of Christ’s Deity.

Keywords: Chalcedon, icons, mediaeval art, suffering, crucifixion, seeing double, eschatology

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