Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Theological Interpretations

April 19th, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie

In a re-post here I attempted to analyze the differing visual and emotional interpretations presented to us in paintings by Raphael Sanzio and Peter Paul Rubens.

There are different theological interpretations that can also be drawn from the two works.

(click on pictures for a clearer, sharper image)

Raphael Crucifixion

Raphael Sanzio’s Crucifixion

Raphael’s Crucifixion displays an ontological theology. In his view of the crucifixion, Christ has already risen and ascended back to the Father. Rather than the realistic cruelty of a fallen world we see before us a world of peaceful harmony attained through the Incarnation, the climax of which was the sacrifice of the Cross. The world in this interpretation of the crucifixion has been restored and is again at one with God. The event here is in God’s time. What originally took place in earthy time is shown to us to exist in eternal time, God’s time, once and for all. The un-bloody sacrifice of the Mass, celebrated in the church building on the altar below this painting in “real” time, taps into that “once and for all” sacrifice.


Peter Paul Ruben’s Crucifixion

Ruben’s Crucifixion comforts us with another theological interpretation, the moment of the actual victory of the cross –victory in apparent defeat. Here the moment of climax has arrived symbolized by the thrusting spear piercing the heart of the Savior. Evil has spent itself, evil has exhausted itself. All is in horrible, violent, noisy confusion. Yet, there is the good thief with his arm visually attached to the Savior. He is with His Savior in the Kingdom as we who remain faithful will be, as a result of this victory.

Notice also, that the Cross and Christ’s Body in Ruben’s violent painting forms a mighty upright vertical line, standing triumphantly in the middle of the confusion withstanding everything attacking it.

Evil is defeated at the moment it seems to have conquered. There is the bad thief symbolizing evil, thrust aside, visually separated from the Savior by darkness and tumbling out of the picture.

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One Response to “Theological Interpretations”

  1. avatar Hopefull says:

    From Morning Prayer Today in the Liturgy of the Hours

    Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
    Praise and exalt him above all forever.
    Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord.
    You heavens, bless the Lord.
    All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.
    All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
    Sun and moon, bless the Lord.
    Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
    Every shower and dew, bless the Lord.
    All you winds, bless the Lord.
    Fire and heat, bless the Lord.
    Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
    Dew and rain, bless the Lord.
    Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
    Ice and snow, bless the Lord.
    Nights and days, bless the Lord.
    Light and darkness, bless the Lord.
    Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.
    Let the earth bless the Lord.
    Praise and exalt him above all forever.
    Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.
    Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
    You springs, bless the Lord.
    Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
    You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.
    All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
    All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.
    You sons of men, bless the Lord.
    O Israel, bless the Lord.
    Praise and exalt him above all forever.
    Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord.
    Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
    Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord.
    Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
    Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord.
    Praise and exalt him above all forever.
    Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
    Let us praise and exalt him above all forever.
    Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven.
    Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all forever.

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