Jesuit Says Suffering Jesus Doesn't Please but Intrigues Art Viewers

Jesuit Father Gregory Waldrop

The graphic depiction of Jesus as the suffering Man of Sorrows is not a crowd pleaser but is a crowd draw, according to Jesuit Father Gregory Waldrop, assistant professor of art history at Fordham University.

Fr. Waldrop moderated a March 18 panel discussion on the Man of Sorrows as part of a symposium organized by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture in conjunction with a new exhibit at New York’s Museum of Biblical Art.

“No one would dispute the importance of Christ’s sacrificial death in Christian theology, but we are less inclined today to decorate our living rooms with bloody representations of him,” said Waldrop.

But Waldrop said the Man of Sorrows — which is an image of Jesus upright, dead but not yet resurrected — still resonates artistically and religiously. “It continues to attract and provoke, responding to current conditions of anguish, loss and deprivation in the world, and showing up in contemporary songs, popular images and even as a theme in artworks by high-profile, emphatically secular contemporary artists.”

For more on Waldrop’s panel discussion, visit Catholic News Service.

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