SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS -The Crucifixion – Matthias Grünewald


The Crucifixion
Matthias Grünewald
c. 1515
Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar

The artist presents a harrowing depiction of the Crucifixion. Christ, wounded, writhes in pain. The witnesses to his death are anguished. Mary Magdalene kneels in supplication while Mother Mary collapses in the arms of John the apostle. To our left, John the Baptist accompanied by a lamb points out to the Sacrificial Lamb of God.

The artist painted the altarpiece for the monastery of St Anthony. The monks operated a hospital for those afflicted by the dreadful disease known as ‘St. Anthony’s fire’ or ergotism.

Christ, Himself, presents its symptoms from the Cross. Notice the red sores on his skin. Christ partakes in our human suffering and pain. He reminds us no matter how great our pain, His agony on the Cross, conquered by the Resurrection, is greater still.

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