Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: The erotics of the crucifix : Mary Magdalene and the poet
Authors: Mifsud, Immanuel
Keywords: Crucifixion in art
Micallef, Doreen, 1949-2001
Vella, Marjanu, 1927-1988
Christianity in literature
Eroticism in literature
Issue Date: 2019-04-10
Publisher: University of Chester
Citation: Mifsud, I. (2019). The erotics of the crucifix : Mary Magdalene and the poet. Talking Bodies 2019, University of Chester.
Abstract: Renaissance art sought to affirm Christ’s humanity particularly in the imagery of the crucifixion and the entombment. Christ’s body becomes eroticised not only because of its nudity on the cross, as shown in Renaissance and Baroque paintings, but also by emphasising its muscularity and maleness. In Renaissance and Baroque art both the crucifixion and the entombment depict Christ’s beautified body in proximity to yet another eroticised body, that of Mary Magdalene, the supposed penitent prostitute, always shown close to yet in opposition to the Virgin Mary. This paper shall give an account of how Christ’s body is sexualised and how the violence of his death enhances rather than inhibits the erotics of his body. Secondly, it shall also discuss how poets, primarily male, religious poets like George Herbert, Richard Crashaw and Marjanu Vella, have imitated artists by blending violence and death with eroticism, tragedy with beauty, spirituality with sex and divinity with carnality. The poets’ gaze at Christ’s body becomes scopophilic in that they focus on Christ’s physical beauty (despite his tragic death). I will also be arguing that in some cases, religious poets eroticise the entombment by taking the role of the Magdalene as they kiss and anoint the dead Christ. The paper argues that the Christian experience, rather than antagonising the body and erotics, becomes the religion of the body which, in its attempt to establish its god’s humanity ends up eroticising him.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - JCMal

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Erotics of the Crucifix.pdf12.68 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.