A-Level: Identity—The divine

videos + essays

Matthias Grünewald, <em>Isenheim Altarpiece</em>
Matthias Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece

Demons as haunting as these could be a sign of delirium, or just another of Grünewald’s otherworldly creations.

Andrea Mantegna, <em>Dead Christ</em>
Andrea Mantegna, Dead Christ

Mantegna was fascinated by perspective. His radical foreshortening and realism focus attention on Christ’s wounds.

The Pergamon Altar
The Pergamon Altar

Greek gods battle Giants for supremacy of the universe, so deeply carved that they almost step out into our world.

Jacopo Pontormo, <em>Entombment</em> (or <em>Deposition from the Cross</em>)
Jacopo Pontormo, Entombment (or Deposition from the Cross)

This altarpiece lacks setting and symbols, but it’s hardly empty. Moving figures fill the space.

A Buddha from Mathura
A Buddha from Mathura

Divinity in stone, an early Buddha from Mathura.

Masaccio, <em>Holy Trinity</em>
Masaccio, Holy Trinity

This painting blends deep piety with scientific observation. Both its architecture and figures were radically new.

The Symmachi Panel
The Symmachi Panel

Holding on to pagan traditions in the early Christian era

Rogier van der Weyden, <em>The Crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning</em>
Rogier van der Weyden, The Crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning

Mary cries and falls into John’s arms. Rogier’s precise observations accentuate the emotional impact of this scene.

Water-Moon Avalokiteśvara
Water-Moon Avalokiteśvara

This exquisite example of a Goryeo Buddhist painting depicts the bodhisattva on his mountain-island abode.

Juan Martínez Montañés and Francisco Pacheco, <em>Christ of Clemency</em>
Juan Martínez Montañés and Francisco Pacheco, Christ of Clemency

The sculptor Martínez Montañés was the “God of Wood,” but it’s the painter Pacheco who brought this work to life.

Jizō Bosatsu
Jizō Bosatsu

This boyish bodhisattva reminds us that through humble bearing, we can spiritually blossom—like a lotus flower.

A-Level: Caravaggio, <em>Deposition</em> (or <em>Entombment</em>)
A-Level: Caravaggio, Deposition (or Entombment)

Spotlight on Christ! Watching this dramatic scene unfold, we become a part of it, as if already inside the tomb.