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Lent 3.10

I am by no means an art historian, but the symbols and significance of religious art intrigues me a great deal.  Below if a painting called, "The Temptations of Christ" painted by Botticelli in the 15th centry.  It can be found in the Sistene Chapel.  Below the work you'll find words by Sarah Noch, a young art historian who blogs about religious art. 

Sarah's words:

In the Sistine chapel, the wall to the left of Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgement” contains Old Testament frescoes, namely stories within the narrative of Moses. To show a relationship between the Old Testament and the New, the opposite wall has stories from the narrative of Christ that parallel the respective stories of Moses. Botticelli’s “Temptations of Jesus” is directly across from the fresco of the “Trials of Moses.” This suggests a direct relationship with Jesus and Moses. On the opposite wall, Moses is tempted by the trials which he faces in the Exodus and during his time with the Israelites in the wilderness; due to his sin he falls short and often cracks at these trials. On the other hand, Jesus, the perfect fulfillment of Moses as the caregiver of God’s people, resists temptation when it is put in his way as portrayed in the fresco here.

The “Temptations of Christ” depicts multiple occasions in which Jesus is tempted by the devil, found in gospels of both Matthew and Luke. On the left side, the devil (dressed as a monk) tries Jesus by attempting to make him turn stones into bread, thus proving his supernatural power and deity. In the top middle of the fresco, the devil (once again disguised as a monk) tries to convince Jesus to hurl himself off the pinnacle of a temple in order to prove his divinity. Lastly, on the far right of the image Botticelli depicts the scene in which Satan offers Christ all of the kingdoms of the world. This time, Christ throws him off the cliffs, and into the pits of hell where he is confined for eternity. In each scenario, Christ resists the temptation that the devil offers, thus proving himself to be the perfect fulfillment of the Old Testament Law and the one true God.


Posted by Laurie Weicher at 6:00 AM
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