Raumvisionen, Erinnerungsorte und Topographien des Leidens Christi in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit
Edited By Hans Aurenhammer and Daniela Bohde
Violent Spaces and Spatial Violence: Pordenone’s Passion frescoes at Cremona Cathedral
The violence enacted upon Christ in Giovanni Antonio da Pordenone’s scenes at Cremona cathedral is of such ferocious intensity that it cannot be contained by the frame. In the Fall on the Way to Calvary, Christ appears to reach out beyond the represented world to grip the picture’s edge, bracing himself against the torments of his oppressors (fig. 2). In the scene of Christ Nailed to the Cross, the shaft of the cross projects out of the picture plane in an illusionistic overflowing of sacred history into the space of the church (fig. 3). Such transgressions of contained pictorial space also destabilize time: they underscore the idea of Christ’s Passion as a perpetual event; that is, Jesus not only suffered for the redemption of Man, but continues to do so in the present.1 The collapse of temporal logic that these paintings allege makes explicit an essential component of all Christian representation: in visualizing a timeless truth, images like Pordenone’s offer the potential for a pictorial dialogue in which the distinction between sacred past and devotional present is elided. But the violence the artist employs to motivate the time-bending agency of these images also affects the beholder’s perception of illusionistic space and his or her relation to it. Pordenone’s paintings are often seen solely in terms of artistic pyrotechnics, but they are also concerned with the nature of sacred representation at a time when the stakes for being a maker of sacred images could not have been higher.2 The...
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