I am very grateful for the joking or thoughtful, or wondering comments to my Art Quiz post, but here’s the correct answer to my questions, “Who is that?” and “What is this crucifix all about?”
Yes, this is Jesus Christ. And no, this is not his bald and beardless version, venerated by a heretic cult. As much as I would like to agree with Boryana that this is Kate Moss, crucfied for her role in making consumerism a glamorous affair, this is not her voodoo doll. And no, this is not Eve (even though the figure’s anatomy is accurately noted as not exactly male by Rivera)
This is a dummy crucifix. Before it was taken out from the church’s treasury, it was implanted with real hair to max out its impact on the congregation of believers. The black dots on the sculp and the chin are holes to which strands of hair were attached.
This tradition existed in Italy from the 14th till 17th century.
This particular crucifix dates back to the end of the 15th century.
This is a simple, effective, and impactful solution to poke the public below the ribs, isn’t it?
There are two sides of me at odds with this piece. My art and history loving side can’t stop looking at the crucified figure to study the artistic aspect of the piece. And then there’s my psychologically terrified side which cringes away from it because it is too vividly humanoid. It’s the same feeling I get when seeing china dolls. It’s fascinating and terrifying at the same time, and the hair isn’t even there anymore.
I think with the hair it would be just a simple crucifix. Without hair, Jesus appears more naked than he already is. He becomes fully exposed to us as a human being: bald, beardless, having lost the last protection of his own hair. And this is both fascinating and terrifying.
Fascinating! And seriously, it does look very contemporary. Look at the head – this could well be a dummy from a DKNY shop window.
It does look striking. It makes your hair stand on end by the absence of its own ))