A Tear in the Art

I was looking at the artwork that I had featured on this website and… can you believe that I haven’t featured the cover art for The Sorrowful Mysteries?! So let’s change that!

This is what the cover art of The Sorrowful Mysteries looks like:

Christ Carrying the Cross, by Giovan Pietro Rizzoli detto il Giampietrino, c. 1530s. Museo Diocesano Milano, Milan, Italy. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
Christ Carrying the Cross, by Giovan Pietro Rizzoli detto il Giampietrino, c. 1530s. Museo Diocesano Milano, Milan, Italy.

It is a picture of Christ carrying the cross. And it’s a very emotional picture.

A soldier with a ruddy face that you can just see just in the background is prompting Jesus to carry His cross to Calvary.

But, that is not where Jesus is looking.

Instead, He is looking at you, the viewer, with an anguished look on His face. His skin is a pallid white, both to remind us that soon He shall die and that He is truly the unblemished Lamb of God who will be sacrificed for the sins of all. His Crown of Thorns punctures his head so that you can see the blood dripping off.

And the look on His face is unfathomable. Sometimes, it appears kind to me. Other times, it seems accusing. And sometimes I don’t know. But, whatever it is, it is a powerful look that invites us personally to meditate on His Passion.

And that’s why I chose this picture.

But there is another reason why I chose this particular picture… see, the artist made several copies of this picture, and by copies, I mean that he reproduced this oil painting several times — which was not a rare thing at the time! Several copies like this are beautiful and flawless. But this copy in particular has a poignant mistake in it: there is a tear in it. Yet, the tear or rip is positioned in such a way that it looks like a tear.

That is, it looks like Christ is weeping as He carries His cross.

And that punches me in the gut every time when I think about it.

As I mentioned above, that is the cover art for my book, The Sorrowful Mysteries. It’s a beautiful book that combines the prayers of the Rosary with images of the Sorrowful Mysteries. Take a look at it and buy it here!¬†

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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