Mathias Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece, detail.
In the early Middle Ages, the Christ couldn’t be pictured suffering on the cross ; he was standing as an immortal divinity. Then, the notion of him suffering for humankind started to be more valuable than him as a “second god”. Finally, in this altarpiece in particular, the Christ is pictured as a rotting corpse, for naturalism’s sake but also tinted with drama as in italian Manierism of that time. On the other hand, the Last Judgment (Rome, Sistine Chapel) by Michelangelo Buonarroti, 20 years later, depicted the Christ as a young, musculous greek/roman god without a beard.

Mathias Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece, detail.

In the early Middle Ages, the Christ couldn’t be pictured suffering on the cross ; he was standing as an immortal divinity. Then, the notion of him suffering for humankind started to be more valuable than him as a “second god”. Finally, in this altarpiece in particular, the Christ is pictured as a rotting corpse, for naturalism’s sake but also tinted with drama as in italian Manierism of that time. On the other hand, the Last Judgment (Rome, Sistine Chapel) by Michelangelo Buonarroti, 20 years later, depicted the Christ as a young, musculous greek/roman god without a beard.

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