A symbol of our times

Franz von Rohden – Crucifixion

The Herald reports that a work of art, hailed as a masterpiece by experts, was hung in a chapel at Ushaw until the 1970s, when it was put in cupboard (no doubt replaced by something plasticky and naff manufactured in the 1960s).
It was only rediscovered following the closure of the seminary in 2011.

Is it just me or does this story encapsulate the history of the last 50 years of the Church?

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7 Responses to A symbol of our times

  1. Jerry says:

    What an absolutely wonderful painting.

    Is it just me or does this story encapsulate the history of the last 50 years of the Church?

    I don’t know Raven, does it?

  2. Toadspittle says:

    ..The picture interested me as well Raven, (first thought it was a Raphael) because of its almost total lack of blood. All images of the crucifixion are to some extent “censored,” for polite consumption – like violence in old Hollywood movies, and reasonably enough so – but this one is exceptional.
    Not so bad, being crucified – you even have a nice, comfy place to rest your feet on.

    And no pain visible in Christ’s face. Does it attempt to “sanitise” the event?
    …Still, very affecting nonetheless.

  3. The Raven says:

    Well, Toad, it’s true that most representations of Our Lord ignore the physical effects of crucifixion; very few painters, van Eyck being an honourable exception, seem to engage with the physical reality of crucifixion, nor with the brutality meted out to Our Lord during his passion. Perhaps you’d prefer it if all of the images of Christ made him look like tenderised meat as your friend Mel’s film did?

  4. The Raven says:

    Jerry, It does for me, hence the somewhat rhetorical question!

  5. Toadspittle says:

    I think you misunderstand Raven – I have no objection at all to the painting.
    Just found that aspect of it interesting.

    Alas, I have not seen The Blessed Mel’s movie.
    Nor do I have plans to.

  6. GC says:

    How could it be the Raven forgot to tell us that we may struggle with the painting ourselves (but individually) simply by getting on the A1 or the M6 and motoring to the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre in Durham , right under Durham Castle? It is being exhibited there until 28 February, admission being free.

    It’s just like you said, Raven. The first people to see it said it was a miracle of art and a most devotion-inspiring picture and that it was the finest picture of the subject that ever was painted, hardly faint praise at all.

    Mr von Rohden was one of the ‘Nazarenes’, founded in Rome by a group of dissident German artists in the early nineteenth century and characterised by the radical recourse to the pictorial repertoire of Italian pre-modern masters.

    Apparently Ushaw College was full of the works of the Nazarenes and had the largest collection of von Rohdens in the world, thanks largely to Cardinal Wiseman. That means it must have had more than your average number of cupboards, in the 1970s at least.

    Please read the following for a very good introduction to von Rohden and to the current exhibition in Durham. I am sure Toad will be there shortly.

    https://www.dur.ac.uk/theology.religion/ccs/new/?itemno=19938

  7. GC says:

    Sorry about the link to the exhibition site. It was meant to be this.

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