Our Favorite Things with PhD Student Tess Artis!

Our Favorite Thing for today is the CMA’s Sculpture of Christ and Saint John the Evangelist (c. 1300)! 🦅Tess Artis is a first year doctoral student studying medieval art with Professor Elina Gertsman.
“I love medieval devotional art because it was made to be loved. Today, we show our respect for this sculpture of Christ and Saint John the Evangelist (c. 1300) by preserving it behind a transparent barrier; we are close, yet removed. But we only need to look at the figures’ toes, some of which have been kissed, rubbed, and grabbed into obsolescence, to see that this object has been cherished more intimately.
“Represented here is the moment during the Last Supper when Christ announces that one of his disciples will betray him, while his youngest disciple, ‘whom Jesus loved’ (John 13:23), leans against his chest. This embrace is taken out of the Last Supper’s context to focus the viewer’s attention on the relationship between Christ and Saint John.
“For medieval nuns who considered themselves brides of Christ, contemplating this relationship meant imagining themselves in the place of Saint John, beloved and sheltered by their husband. Oblivious to the world around him, Saint John models the closeness with Christ that medieval Christians strove to achieve by praying before, kissing, and touching sculptures like this one. Standing in front of these figures, I find myself so overcome that I can almost imagine grabbing a toe myself!”