Friday, February 04, 2011

Flagellation of Christ

The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is one of the modern alternate Stations of the Cross, but is not in the traditional sequence. The column to which Christ is normally tied, and the rope, scourge, whip or birch are elements in the Arma Christi — various places, including the Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, claimed to possess the original column.

The event is mentioned in three of the four canonical Gospels, and was the usual prelude to crucifixion under Roman law. In the Passion of Christ it precedes the Mocking of Christ and the Crowning with thorns.

It first appears in art in the West in the 9th century. It is almost never found in Byzantine art, and remains very rare in Eastern Orthodox art at any date. Initially found in illuminated manuscripts and small ivories, there are surviving monumental wall-paintings from around 1000 in Italy. From the start there are most often three figures, Christ and two servants of Pontius Pilate who whip him. In early depictions Christ may be naked, or wearing a long robe, facing out or seen from behind; from the 12th century it is standard that Christ wears a loincloth and faces out towards the viewer.


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