Friday, June 5, 2009

Painting 2 and a battle between Jesus and a Minoan Octopus

In my previous blog it was suggested that I draw a picture of Baby Jesus battling a Minoan Octopus. So I did, and here are the results:

And now for Painting #2

(Via Hanover College Department of History)

The Lamentation (1305 CE) by Giotto

Not surprisingly this is another Jesus related painting. This time we have jumped to Jesus post crucifixion. I think I like this painting more than numero uno. Obviously there is much more going on and there are a ton of halos which means we have some important people depicted.

Here is the quick rundown:

1. Jesus - You can probably guess which one he is (think deceased)
2. Mary - Holding his upper torso
3. Mary Magdalene - Holding his feet, harking back to when she once anointed his feet with perfumes (maybe Jesus' wife?)
4. John the Evangelist - his arms thrown back.
5. Joseph of Arimathea - On right with big beard and likely carrying Christ's shroud. Joesph was a rich Jew who provided his own tomb to bury Christ (maybe he knew it wouldn't be occupied for long). You can allegedly see the tomb's entrance next to John's rear end.
6. Nicodemus - Far right, according to John (19.39) provided the spices for anointing Christ's body

Aside from the angels above there remains two figures with halos unidentified (the lady standing with a hand up to the left of Christ's head and one of the mourners holding Christ's left hand) Who could they be?

Also of note, Jesus' body is not allowed to touch the ground. The angels above seem to melt back into clouds and are painted at various and perspectives (daring for it's time). Also the lone tree which seems to be near death is actually sprouting some growth perhaps symbolic of the resurrection.

I like the fact that there are two figures in the painting with their backs towards us. I wonder if the reason they have no halos is not because of there lack of significance but rather because a halo could not be painted without obscuring other details.

I am also interested in the fact that there are only three lamenting males in the painting (aside from the angels) and fifteen women. I also found it interesting that there is no description of the communal lamentation depicted in the Bible. There are obvious reasons and implications for filling in parts of the story at a later date (like the notion of what hell is like as a place) but I never before considered the role art may have played in this development.


  1. i love how baby jesus and the minoan octopus are holding hands. :)

  2. That's why I say Pseudo-Artist. They are supposed to be battling!