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The Art of JAMA
March 15, 2016

The Lost FeliceMarsden Hartley

JAMA. 2016;315(11):1088-1089. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.14164

A traditional Man of Sorrows image features a wearied Christ, posed from the waist up, piously displaying the wounds of his Passion suffering. The crown of thorns on his head, the stigmata on his palms, puncture wounds in his torso, are all displayed in order that the viewer may meditate on Christ’s pain and ultimate sacrifice. Often he is also flanked by angels. It is a type of image that was popular throughout Europe in the 13th century. However, Marsden Hartley’s 20th-century version did not rely on the sentimental and delicate piousness of the medieval prototype. Instead he used a modernist vocabulary of shape, color, and form to evoke the same type of emotion associated with grief and loss.

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