Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ponder: "only Christ suffers in his face"

"[Separation between face and body] is a main point in one of European culture's principal iconographic traditions, the depiction of Christian martyrdom, with its astounding schism between what is inscribed on the face and what is happening to the body.  Those innumerable images of Saint Sebastian, Saint Agatha, Saint Lawrence (but not of Christ himself), with the face demonstrating its effortless superiority to the atrocious things that are being inflicted down there.  Below, the ruins of the body.Above, a person incarnated in the face, who looks away, usually up, not registering pain or fear; already elsewhere.  Only Christ, both Son of Man and Son of God, suffers in his face, has his Passion."

Susan Sontag, qtd, in Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion (2015), 81.

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