Christ as the Man of Sorrows (Ecce Homo) by Pedro de Mena, 1673, painted wood, human hair, ivory and glass
Intended to be seen from close up, the skill with which this carving has been painted is exceptional. Blue paint has been applied beneath the flesh tones in order to suggest the bruising of Christ’s skin. The rivulets of blood which trickle down his body are soaked up by the loincloth around his waist. Glass eyes have been inserted into the eye sockets and real hair used for the eyelashes. The sculpture was made for the illegitimate son of Philip IV, Don Juan José de Austria, for his private devotion.
- The National Gallery: The Sacred Made Real exhibition guide
Do I need to say any more? Oh yes, maybe that the bruising looks so gloriously real that I sneaked around the sculpture for about 15 minutes making sure that Christ’s skin wasn’t really swollen from the whipping and beating and that it was really just a very, very good make-up job.
There’s absolutely no excuse to miss this exhibition, I’m telling you. I had “Arrrghh! Shit! Did he just move?! Tell me he didn’t?!” moments throughout the exhibition.
So there: The Sacred Made Real, The National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing, Trafalgar Square, Londinium, until January 2010.
Average age is 107 so you can easily save the horrendous entrance fee by making friends with a group of senile visitors claiming you’re Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and you’re very upset and need to find Toto who run into the gallery. Works for me all the time.
EDIT/NOTE TO SELF: Beaten up Christ goes very well with current blog background pattern. So pretty!
3 years ago