Passion in Venice

EXHIBITION – Passion in Venice: Crivelli to Tintoretto and Veronese, New York, Museum of Biblical Art (1865 Broadway at 61st Street, New York, NY 10023, phone: 212.408.1500), 11 February – 12 June 2011.

Passion in Venice presents a sacred theme central to the history of Christian Art: Christ as Man of Sorrows.  This devotional image offers the piteous, half-length Savior variously paradoxically standing erect in death, slumped in death and supported by angels, or displaying some pre-resurrection combination of vitality and death.  This portrayal of Christ visualizes Isaiah 53:3: “He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”  Its origins rooted in Byzantium, the figure entered Venetian art in the late Middle Ages after which it flourished locally for centuries, eventually acquiring its own name in dialect, Cristo Passo.  The exhibition will trace the ongoing conventions and artistic permutations of this visual type into modern times.

Drawn from international loans, Passion in Venice examines the rich visual tradition of the sorrowful Christ in Venice through a wide range of representations of the theme across different media, including illuminated manuscripts, paintings, prints, sculpture, and liturgical objects.  The exhibition also will address the issue of how this remarkable theme – the dead Christ beyond space and time – reflected and shaped Venetian piety in the Renaissance and immediately thereafter.

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