Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday - Giotto 1267-1337

Good Friday marks the day that the Bible explains that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of the the people of the world. Good Friday is a day of mourning and sorrow over the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. It's also a day of gratitude for the supreme sacrifice, that he made.
1305  Giotto di Bondone (Florentine painter, c 1267-1337). The Crucifixion
1303 Giotto di Bondone (Florentine painter, c 1267-1337). The Lamentation

Good Friday - 1460 - Crown of Thorns

Lucas Cranach the Elder (German Northern Renaissance Painter, 1472-1553) Christ Crowned with Thorns c 1510
Unknown Flemish painter, Jesus
Petrus Christus (Netherlandish painter, active c 1444–1476 Bruges)  Head of Christ c 1445
1460-75. Philadelphia Museum of Art Christ Crowned with Thorns. Artist unknown, Austrian

In the Christian religion, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. As early as the 1C, the Christian church set aside every Friday as a special day of prayer and fasting. It was not until the 4C, however, that Christians began observing the Friday before Easter as the day associated with the crucifixion of Christ. Good Friday is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar.  First called Holy or Great Friday by the Greek Church, the name "Good Friday" was adopted by the Roman Church around the 6C or 7C.

There are two possible origins for the name "Good Friday". The first may have come from the Gallican Church in Gaul (modern-day France and Germany). The name "Gute Freitag" is Germanic in origin and literally means "good" or "holy" Friday. The 2nd possibility is a variation on the name "God's Friday," where the word "good" was used to replace the word "God," which was often viewed as too holy to be spoken aloud.

Good Friday rituals and traditions are somber. To many Christians, Good Friday is a day of sorrow mingled with hope, a time to grieve for mankind's failings and for the suffering of Jesus and to meditate upon the ultimate redemption of loving and of forgiving ourselves and others.

Good Friday - Duccio 1255-1319

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Jesus Accused by the Pharisees
1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) The Flagellation

Good Friday marks the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of the the people of the world. Some believe that its name was originally God's Friday, which, over the years, became its present name. Good Friday is a day of mourning and sorrow over the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. It's also a day of gratitude for the supreme sacrifice that he made.
1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Crown of Thorns
1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) The Carrying of the Cross
1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Deposition

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Betrayal of Christ at Gethsemane

1445 Bartolomeo di Tommaso (Italian, Umbrian, active by 1425, died 1453) The Betrayal of Christ

Maundy Thursday -The Last Supper

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Washing of the Feet

Maundy Thursday refers to Jesus as a servant and calld for his followers to do the same. It also draws a connection between the Passover sacrifice, a Jewish tradition, & the imminent sacrifice of Jesus. The night before Jesus was crucified, he had a Passover supper with his disciples. (Passover is a Jewish holy day that celebrates God's deliverance of the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt.) After supper, Jesus knew that this would be his final opportunity to instruct his disciples before the crucifixion, so he talked at length about his purposes, what his followers should do in response, and the promise of the Holy Spirit to come. He then washed his disciples' feet in a demonstration of humility and servant-hood. Finally, he gave bread and wine to his disciples and asked them to partake of it in remembrance of him. The act of partaking bread and wine is called Communion (or the Last Supper) today. 

The word Maundy (pronounced mawn-dee) comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." The command that this holy day refers to is the one that Jesus gave to his disciples during the Last Supper: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:34–35

The last meal Jesus shared with His disciples was the Passover meal. Jesus was the host: he washed the feet of His followers, & served them at the table. He broke bread with His betrayer, Judas; With His denier, Peter; with the "friends," who would sleep when He needed comfort & run, as he was facing death. Yet Jesus still ate with them, Prayed with them, sang a hymn with them. That meal Jesus over and gave them a new command:  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. "
1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian artist, 1255-1319) The Last Supper

Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane - Illuminated Manuscripts

1599-25 Agony in the garden Simon Bening (1483-1561)  or follower From a Book of Hours (use of Rome) of Southern Netherlands (Den Haag, MMW, 10 E 3). Passion according to St. John with only a hint of tiny blossoms.

According to all the Gospels, immediately after the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, Jesus took a walk to pray. Each Gospel offers a slightly different account regarding narrative details. The gospels of Matthew & Mark identify this place of prayer as Gethsemane. Jesus was accompanied by 3 Apostles: Peter, John & James, whom he asked to stay awake & pray. He moved "a stone's throw away" from them, where He felt overwhelming sadness & anguish, & said "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.Then, a little while later, He said, "If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!" (Matthew 26:42). He said this prayer 3x, checking on the 3 apostles between each prayer & finding them asleep. He commented: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." An angel came from heaven to strengthen him. During his agony in the garden, he prayed, "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground." ( Luke 22:44).

From Illuminated Manuscripts -
1270 Manuscript Leaf with the Agony in the Garden from a Royal Psalter
Illuminated Manuscript, Book of Hours in Dutch, Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Walters Manuscript W.918, fol. 104v
Prayer Book, including Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Walters Manuscript W.164, fol. 15v
Garden of Gethsemane Hennessy Book of Hours - miniaturist Simon Benning - Flanders, 1530-1540
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Rosenwald-Book Of Hours

The garden at Gethsemane, a place whose name literally means oil press, is located on a slope of the Mount of Olives just across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem. A garden of ancient olive trees stands there to this day. Gethsemane is most famous as the place where Jesus prayed & his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion. According to the New Testament it was a place that Jesus & his disciples customarily visited, which allowed Judas to find him on the night of his arrest. Gethsemane appears in Matthew (26:36) & Mark (14:32). The Gospel of John says Jesus frequently went to Gethsemane with His disciples to pray (John 18:2). In the Bible at John 18:1l “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.” From other scriptures, such as, Matthew 26:36 we know that this garden was called “Gethsemane.”

Maundy Thursday - The Last Supper

The Last Supper, about 1030–40, Unknown. J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig VII 1, fol. 38

Maundy Thursday - The Last Supper

The Last Supper, about 1475, Unknown.  J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XIII 5, v2, fol. 172

Maundy Thursday - The Last Supper

The Last Supper about 1400–10, J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 33, fol. 286v

Near the end of the Last Supper, Christ said to His disciples, "A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

During the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. In England, this act was adopted politically as a way of reminding rulers, that they are here to serve their subjects, until 1689. Up until then the King or Queen would wash the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday in Westminster Abbey.  Throughout the 17C & earlier, the King or Queen would wash the feet of the selected poor people as a gesture of humility in remembrance of Jesus' washing the feet of the disciples. The ceremony originated in the Roman Catholic Church inspired by the events that occurred during the night Jesus observed the Passover with his disciples. The symbolic washing of feet, which was begun around the 4C, involved a bishop or cardinal washing the feet of the priests & acolytes. While in Rome, the Pope would wash the feet of selected Cardinals. This was seen as fulfilling the mandate, that the greatest among the brethren will be the servant of all.

Maundy Thursday - The Last Supper

 The Last Supper, about 1525–30, Simon Bening.  J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig IX 19, fol. 83v

Maundy Thursday - The Last Supper

1325 Ugolino da Siena (Italian, Sienese, active 1315–30s) The Last Supper

Francesco Bassano the Younger (1563-1570) Last Supper

Maundy Thursday - The Last Supper

Manuscript European Bible (Ottheinrich) 15C p 85 The Last Supper

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem

Giotto di Bondone (Florentine painter, c 1267-1337). Triumphal Entry

Jesus Arrives in Jeruselem

A Serbian Icon of Jesus’ Entry to Jerusalem

Jesus Arrives in Jeruselem

Fresco of Jesus' Entry by Pietro Lorenzetti, an Italian artist in the early 14C