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Assorted Scholarship and Comments on the Crucifixion in and Around The Passion of the Christ
Giotto: The Kiss of Judas
Judas’ robe, extended by his arm, stages Jesus’ profile.
Giotto outlines Jesus’ features with a fine line; Judas’ with a heavy line: caveman brow! How’s that for macroinformation?
Bosch, Christ Carrying the Cross (1490), oil on panel
I have always loved paintings in which there’s a lot to see, a lot to figure: comics with a lot of detail, Pavel’s Tchelichew’s Hide & Seek … (Proof, my friend Anton pronounced, that pk had bad taste). Any Hieronymus Bosch painting is worth a lifetime of looking.
Of all the things I admired in Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, what I admired most was his reprise of this image. I must say though that Scorsese was far kinder to humanity in his version than was the inimitable Bosch.
I mentioned Giotto’s contrasting outlines for Jesus’ face and Judas’: compare here Bosch’s treatment of Jesus compared to the crowd. Veronica here is portrayed as human: but, she’s turned away from Jesus!
When I first saw this painting reproduced I already knew and was reminded of George Grosz’s mid-twentieth century bestial-mechanizations of Nazi Germany. For example:
Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ
Scorsese’s depiction of the crucifixion followed careful research.