For many years, the artist has used and still use several forms of artwork as a way of representing their ideas, skills, and educating the community. For many years Corpus has and is still regarded as the most extended lost masterpieces. Historically, Bernini cast three distinctive versions of Corpus. One of the artworks destroyed amid the French Revolution. One of the artworks owned by Spain’s royal family that had an official collection. The third artwork went missing while in Italy in 1790 after being recorded in the Perugia region. For many years, one of the Corpus donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario based in Toronto believed to have created a French artist who was still unknown. In 2004, studies and continuous research on the artwork attributed the work to Bernini, who developed the artwork for his collections.
Corpus came into the surface in 1908 in Venice after being lost for almost one hundred years. The artwork later fell into the hand of a private individual in the US, at that particular time, the work misidentified as art that belonged to the school of Giambologna. In 1975 the artwork failed to be sold in an auction-based on the fact that the price of $200 was too low. In 2001, the artwork attributed to Bernini. However, it was until 2005 that the work was formally linked to Bernini directly. In 2007, Murray Frum, who is a real estate contractor, made an effort to buy the artwork from a US artwork dealer, which he later donated to Art Gallery of Ontario. Today the artwork is estimated to be worth $ 59 million.
Corpus’ central role in most religious art
Sacred religious arts developed to try and demonstrate, portray, and supplement the tangible form of spiritual principles. Corpus is a representation of the physical values of Christianity as a religious and a presentation of suffering. The suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. Corpus for years has been central in representing the imagery of several beliefs that exist in the actual world, and they look like in reality. Many Christin groups/ societies use or have used one or more forms of Christian religion artworks, although another Christian culture is against the use of imagery artwork as a way of representing who Christ ways and is up-to-date, Bartal (2014). As a religion that has been in existence for thousands of years, there has been significant use of imagery artwork in representing icons in the Christian faith.
Corpus was developed on allusive or around central themes that are familiar and abide by the principle of observations. Like a sculpture that represents Jesus Christ, Corpus is a clear narration of the life of Jesus Christ and the pain he endured as the savior. The original for the Corpus played an essential role in guiding other sculpture artists around the globe who have made many different forms of the sculpture displayed today in thousands of Christian worship centers especially in catholic worship areas, Barrett, (2016). The creation of Corpus has, for many years, led to the creation of other religious arts such as the arts on Holy Virgin Mary and other holy saints. The settings within the context of the Old Testament have also contributed in the development of Christion denomination pieces of art, the images of Holy Mary with an infant Jesus are evidence of the role that Corpus has played in the event of religious artwork. As stated, most of the artworks are found mostly in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The iconographic representations also help the illiterate in vividly understand their religious identity.
Original viewers experienced on Corpus
Looking back into time, Crucifixion viewed as a form of punishment for capital crimes. Developed at the time when religious persecution was taking root. Many people, especially those that supported the Roman role, which was promoting the persecution of Christians, many people avoided associating themselves with Christianity with fear of being persecuted. These factors also mean that Bernini’s artwork viewed as any other form of artwork that had no religious connection with the people. Many would view artwork as a representation of any other person who faced Cruxification because of the crimes committed against the Roman Empire that was controlling almost every part of the globe. Crucifixion was carried out as a way of discouraging those that witnessed it from committing same mistakes as those on the cross.
Based on the Roman rules against Christian, it was challenging for people to view Corpus as a representation the religious beliefs. Those that got the Crucifixion punishment were, in some cases, left on the cross/display as a way of relaying a warning message to the people. Historically Corpus has existed as a religious representation. However, the ruling powers and a few only saw it as a form of art that could be stored for future use, such as viewing it in unique places such as the museums. Going back to history, Crucifixion was a punishment used by the Roman Empire to subject the offer to a low but painful punishment. Initially, Bernini’s work was seen as simple sculptures that represented the imagery of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, with various religious events that were taking place, strict attention towards the artwork started growing with multiple people and even organizations showing so much interest in owning as part of their artwork collections.
The current display of The Crucified Christ (Corpus)
Both educational and religious revolution has gradually led to a change in the presentation of Corpus not just in churches but in people minds also. Using the images of the original artwork, people have created their sculptures as a way of representing the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. Today almost all Roman Catholic churches have big statues of Jesus Christ on the cross displayed in front of the churches and other worship areas. The fact is not all those that are creating new displays saw how or what Bernini’s artwork looked like, but they still can develop other display works that look just like the one designed by Bernini many years ago. Despite current artworks looking almost similar to the work created by Bernini, some differences in terms of size and the positioning of the hands of Christ on the cross. Some displays tightly attach Christ on the cross while others give some space between his head and the cross, Heal (2016).
Most of the display work on Jesus and the cross has really changed starting with the cross design, which is simple cross types as compared to the original work by Bernini that had a spacing distance regarding the actual position of the hands of Christ on the cross. Looking at some of the artworks today and comparing them with Bernini’s artwork, you will realize that the positioning of the head is different. The original work by Bernini placed the head of Christ while on the cross on his right hand while some of the artworks today portrays that he looked up while on the cross, come portrays that he looked down which meant to show that after taking his last breath, his head faced down. The thorns displayed on Bernini’s artwork may not be realized to be thorns without a closer look, which means that Bernini was more creative in developing his work. On the other hand, some of the crucifixion artworks vividly show the thorns on Christ’s head even from a distance.
The original use of The Crucified Christ (Corpus)
Several studies have shown that Bernini created his artwork as part of his collections and not entirely for religious reasons or use in sacred places. The disappearing of some of the work and surfacing after almost a hundred years shows that the artwork had some values, and the values have since gone up. Today, the millions of sculptures around the globe in worshiping places primarily created for religious reasons. Millions of Christians around the world believe in the way of the cross as the right path to salvation, which means imagery representations of Christ and any other “holy” appreciated in the highest manner with believes that the imageries are sacred and ought to respect at all times. As a way of showing just how sacred the sculptures of Christ while on the cross are, the Orthodox and Catholic churches have them placed at strategic places where they can be seen as a continuous way of reminding the believers that indeed Christ died for their iniquities, Stewart (2015).
Today when you walk into most protestant churches, you will not see the actual sculpture of Christ while on the cross. But you will see across, which is a simple representation of Christ while on the cross. On the other walking into a catholic church, then you will not fail to see the sculpture of Christ nailed on the cross and people bowing their heads before the statues and even kneeling before them during prayers. This is a factor that simply shows how crucial is the sculpture artwork that represents a “holy” being is. To most of the believers, if not all, the artwork of Christ while on the cross ought to be treated with the highest respect as a way of showing that they are imagery representation of the sacred cross of which Jesus Christ was crucified on.
- Barrett, L. C. (2016). The Crucifixion: Kierkegaard’s Use of the New Testament Narratives. In Volume 1, Tome II: Kierkegaard and the Bible-The New Testament (pp. 165-179). Routledge.
- Bartal, R. (2014). Repetition, Opposition, and Invention in an Illuminated Meditationes vitae Christi: Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS 410. Gesta, 53(2), 155-174.
- Heal, B. (2016). Visual and material culture. In The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations.
- Stewar,t, P. (2015). Ritual Viewing in the Chapel of the Corpus Christi. Bernardino Luini’s Passion Cycle at San Giorgio al Palazzo, Milan. The Sacralization of Space and Behavior in the Early Modern World, Burlington, 101-39.