Monday, July 12, 2010

Identity in difference

Can't resist inflicting yet more Job art on you (partly, I have to admit, because I can't use all these wonderful things I'm finding in a book that's mainly about the text, the book of Job, and not just the figure of Job in various biblical and less-than-biblical traditions), here the 1360 Kreuzaltar in the Backsteingotik (brick gothic) abbey of Bad Doberan, on the Baltic Sea. A gothic marvel Ruskin would appreciate: while perfectly balanced as a whole, nothing in it is ever repeated - every rondel a shape all its own, identity in difference. Job appears on the right wing of this (double-sided) altar with scenes of the Passion, and it is hard to find a clearer illustration of the identification of Job as a type of Christ. The man on the dungheap, scourged by his wife and a demon, has the very same face as the man to whom thugs are attaching a crown of thorns.

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