Monday, September 30, 2013

Max Monday

I came across this painting by Max Beckmann some time ago online,

and there was no title with it. I assumed it was Christ expelling the demons from Mary Magdalene.

I came across the title recently on a site. It is Christ in Limbo.

Funny how an image can do that - receive multiple interpretations. Though really, it better explains the crown of thorns that Christ is wearing.

Anyways, you know what I like to think about?

I like to think about how this painting,

is conducive to a church setting, or to a sacred space, and more conducive to a sacred space than this painting:

Decadent mannerism. Bronzino's Christ in Limbo in a sacred setting (in any setting for that matter) would be spiritually erosive, but not Beckmann's.

Because Bronzino's is absolutely vacuous it is detrimental to any sort of contemplation on the subject depicted, and thus a kind of blockage, a kind of lie, is set up nice and fashionable-like. Well, fashionable for its time, which is precisely the problem. That's all the painting is. Fashionable for its time, and thus even for its time it was erosive and vacuous.

Beckmann's is crackling with intensity - a coarse intensity, yes - but, to put it shortly, it reveals an invisible reality. He is not doing a "take" on the subject; rather the subject as a painted image has become a channel for the real. As such, the subject becomes real on a visceral level.

Oh and if you're thinking I'm saying this because of the nude on the right side of Bronzino's image, you don't get what I'm saying.

But it is good to think about, isn't it? The truth that this painting by Max Beckmann,

is very much conducive to a sacred space, to a church, and far more conducive than this painting:

1 comment:

Enbrethiliel said...


Now that I see it, I'll never unsee it!

Bronzino's painting isn't bad, but I agree that it's a bit vapid. I can tell that when he was making it, he was bored.