The Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists Essay

The Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists Essay

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For being over eight hundred years, the Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists remained in remarkable condition. However, pieces of the original piece, which originated in the Catalan chapel in Spain, have faded. Portions, especially along the bottom, have disappeared over time. Even though historians moved it to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, it has not been fully restored. The artist identified each of the apostles in the Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists, but the writing has grown fainter and this creates a difficulty for art historians. Another key factor in the overall story represented has faded--one of the lamps or incense holders beneath Christ.
The positions of the stories in the apse show the importance of the figures represented in the images. Christ's placement in the center of the apse holding a book provides a direct relationship to the bible and his right hand held up in blessing illustrates his divine power blessing the people, who receive the sacrament on the altar below him. Christ is also surrounded by stars, which could represent the heavens and his own divine nature. The Four Symbols of the Evangelists surround him as reminders to the Revelation of Saint John in the last book of the bible about the coming apocalypse, when the judgment of the people occurs. Around these symbols, the artist placed seven lamps to symbolize the seven Christian communities where Saint John addressed his revelation . In the band below, separated by geometric designs similar to San Vitale, the twelve apostles with halos stand holding books. At the bottom, the artist incorporated various scenes from the New Testament from the Annunciation to the Adoration of the Three Kings to demonstrate the ear...

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...t they would worship it as an idol. Though the artist utilized blunt geometric forms to hide the figures' forms, the drapery does use shadows in an attempt to better define the images. As a stylistic tool, the artist incorporated patterns into the figures. Peter holds a key, which allows art historians to identify him, and he is the only apostle who mimics Christ's hand raised in blessing. The artist might have shown this, because Christ instructed Peter his church would be built on him. Also, in the band of apostles, the halos alternate between blue and gold, except in one case.

Works Cited

Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Museum label for Unknown, Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists. Boston, 17 November 2013.
Kleiner, Fred, Gardner's Art through the Ages: A Global History, Fourteenth Edition The Middle Ages, Book B (Boston: Wadsworth, 2013), 348.

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