ANDREA MANTEGNA’S DEAD CHRIST | Daily News

ANDREA MANTEGNA’S DEAD CHRIST

Taking a closer look at this masterpiece, Mantegna’s painting is a masterful rendition of death in its most realistic and tortured form; the misery and cold despair of the painting sharpened by its restrictive tonality palette. This is really relentless.
THE DEAD CHRIST, the painting by Andrea Mantegna that shook the world and brought every Christians down on their knees with repentance and guilt.

ASH WEDNESDAY which is forty days and forty nights of repentance to all Christians is around the corner. With its arrival our conscience is stirred as we all watch the agony of Jesus Christ as depicted by many masters of the past, especially by Andrea Mantegna. They impact all of us more than spiritual leaders do during repentance.

Helpless, hopeless devastated and at the mercy of all us sinners, THE DEAD CHRIST after he was lowered from the cross dramatically captured this iconic painter. Every Christian who views this painting, coil inside in remorse and guilt, shocked with repentance, is recorded that many such people kneel before this painting and rise with tears in their eyes. This extra ordinary painting depicts the familiar theory, THE LAMENTATION over Body of Christ with startling perspective and a harrowing sense of pathos.

Swollen contours

Being one of the most outstanding paintings during his period, the size and composition of the picture suggest a slab in a morgue because the figure of Jesus Christ foreshortened to such an extent, it appears deformed but in fact, matches the swollen contours of a body gripped in death.

This use of virtuoso illusionary effects and influenced a number of Renaissance artists. Mantegna used great extent of different effects and illustrated perspectives especially when he was commissioned by the church to do spiritual paintings.

Heralded as a work of unsurpassed genius, THE DEAD CHRIST by Renaissance master, Andrea Mantegna was immediately recognized as a groundbreaking impacted influence not only among Catholics but the world at large. The painting rates one among the top two paintings voted annually in a list of fifty worldwide.

A stickler for perfection, all his other reflections on Christ, paled before THE DEAD CHRIST. His innovative devices and bold compositions both of which are defining features without which precedence predicted elements of 16th century.

Tortured form

Taking a closer look at this masterpiece, Mantegna's painting is a masterful rendition of death in its most realistic and tortured form; the misery and cold despair of the painting sharpened by its restrictive tonality palette. This is really relentless. Look at his wrinkled feet, punctured with nail holes, are the feet of a real man which is biting naturalism that deepens pathos in the image. From the feet to the eyes are directed towards the hands, again punctured and curled up in the agony of death but strangely no blood smears or stains.

Yet, it is the face of the dead Christ that is perhaps most compelling and profoundly and utterly sad. There is a pillow like object placed under the upper part of the body painted in the same colouring that merge into his shoulders, thus making the torso look heavy and large. The painting has to be studied with intensity to separate the body from where he is placed upon. Even the linen placed on, is draped rather than wrapped. The fingers droop rather than placed.

The nails piercing on the body is so real-looking, even the skin around them are torn. The angle from which the painter has captured the agony of the dying Christ is so real, it brings tears to every Christian eye.

Mantegna was recognized as a great artist even during his prolific career and remains an artist who permanently enriched Western culture. He was one of the painters that can be credited to the development of artistic philosophy of Michelangelo.

Aesthetic harmony

Very inspirational and talented among the leading artists of modern history was not only prodigious but talented in many other artistic heritage and classical sources. The aesthetic harmony and technical competence made him the great artist he was.

Andrea Mantegna born in 1431 fourteen years after the Start of the Reformation in 1517 were raised in a good Christian family who trusted in the Lord. It was from this background that his inspiration to paint Jesus and his disciples emerged the magnificently eclectic and emotive Renaissance spread out the story of Jesus Christ in all his paintings with THE DEAD CHRIST leading them all. He also looked to the antiquity and classical precedence in the depiction of naturalistic details that made THE DEAD CHRIST the most important and accepted painting the world ever saw.

Done in oil on canvas, it is 66 x 81 cm. and held at Pinacteca di Bera in Milan. Andrea Mantegna was born in Isola de Cartura, near Padua in 1431 and died in Mantua in 1506 after an illustrious career, very often commissioned by the Church; he left behind an artistic legacy in spirituality that few masters could have achieved. 

 


 

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