Christianity itself has produced some of the most gruesome images of tortured, dying, suffering, and dead bodies, especially Jesus's own body. From Latin American Roman Catholic piety to German Protestantism, the dead and dying Jesus is a point of power, passion, and ultimately compassion. Take, for example, Matthias Grünewald's Small Crucifixion (early 16th century) in the publicly funded National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. ... mangled limbs, pocked skin oozing pus and blood.The artist who made the ants-on-Jesus video — which is really called "A Fire in My Belly" — was David Wojnarowicz. He died of AIDS in 1992, only 4 years older than Jesus was at the time of crucifixion.
That Christ on the cross is actually dead, and the body so dead that ants might eat it, is both the most orthodox Christian statement, and the most scandalous. But here is where the power of words and images begin to show their differences.
In Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot, the character Ippolit kills himself. In his suicide note he meditates on a reproduction of a 16th century painting by Hans Holbein, The Dead Christ:
The picture seems to give expression to the idea of a dark, insolent, and senselessly eternal power, to which everything is subordinated, and this idea is suggested to you unconsciously. The people surrounding the dead man, none of whom is shown in the picture, must have been overwhelmed by a feeling of terrible anguish and dismay on that evening which had shattered all their hopes and almost all their beliefs at one fell blow. They must have parted in a state of the most dreadful terror, though each of them carried away within him a mighty thought which could never be wrested from him. And if, on the eve of the crucifixion, the Master could have seen what He would look like when taken from the cross, would he have mounted the cross and died as he did?Holbein's is an image, as Prince Myshkin says in Dostoyevsky's story, that could make one lose one's faith.... And yet, the image offers a profound meditation on the power of death, that "dark insolent, and senselessly eternal power." The picture becomes, like so many before and after, a point of great healing, compassion, and understanding about this central, paradoxical thing that Christians hold dear: Incarnation.
IN THE COMMENTS: Tyrone Slothrop said..
It's the anty Christ.