Raumvisionen, Erinnerungsorte und Topographien des Leidens Christi in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit
Edited By Hans Aurenhammer and Daniela Bohde
Golgatha, Now and Then: Image and Sacrificial Topography in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
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Golgotha, Now and Then: Image and Sacrificial Topography in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
At least one or two priests [should] accompany him as he is taken or dragged to [the scaffold] / [and] instill in him good thoughts / One should also, while he is taken to the scaffold and taken toward his death, constantly hold a crucifix before him (Bambergische Peinliche Halsgerichtsordnung, 1507).
In this essay I explore the use of pictorial devices in the stage-management of capital punishment; in particular, I focus here on the roles such images might have played in bringing about a kind of temporary oscillation between two distinct sacrificial topographies – those namely of the fifteenth- or sixteenth-century town, with its scaffold extra muros, and of the biblical Jerusalem, with Mount Calvary looming above it. I ask furthermore whether the deployment of certain pictures encouraged both the convicted offender and the audiences about to witness his or her gory death to view and experience the execution ritual itself as a real-life Passion play. The images designed for these performances were variously mobile, portable, and miniaturized, or else stationary and monumental, and they could be self-contained but were also integrated into the surrounding landscape; to complicate matters, different types of pictures were often used in combination in one and the same judicial performance, and while some were calibrated for the sole benefit of the condemned criminal, others were also intended to address the...
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