Understanding the image of Christ in Distress in Lithuanian folk culture: the conceptions of passion, sin and prefiguration of prophet Jeremiah - PDF

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zarządzanie w Kulturze, s doi: / zk Gabija Surdokaitė-Vitienė Understanding the image of Christ in Distress in Lithuanian folk culture: the conceptions of passion,
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zarządzanie w Kulturze, s doi: / zk Gabija Surdokaitė-Vitienė Understanding the image of Christ in Distress in Lithuanian folk culture: the conceptions of passion, sin and prefiguration of prophet Jeremiah Key words: piety, Christ in Distress, Passion of Christ, prophet Jeremiah, Christ in Distress, Seated Christ, prefiguration, sin, penitence, stone Słowa klucze: pobożność, Chrystus Frasobliwy, Pasja, prorok Jeremiasz, Chrystus siedzący, typologia, grzech, pokuta, kamień Abstract This article discusses a few aspects of the conception of one image found in the Lithuanian folklore and religious sculpture of the turn of 19th and 20th century. The author points out possible influences of the official Catholic Church liturgy, teaching, official religious art, devotional literature, sermons, chants on folklore and folk religious art. This article explores direct influences and the syncretism of these ideas in the peasant culture. Introduction In Lithuanian culture, wooden sculptures of Christ in Distress have passed the complicated way from multi-meaning religious image of art to symbol of Lithuania and her nation. The associations that sculpture of Christ in Distress expresses the national character and Lithuanian spirit have formed at the end of the 19th in the beginning of the last century and rooted widely in the society in the 1920s and 1930s Ill. 1). Despite the popularity of symbol and image of Christ in Distress, there are only few publications on this subject, and the subject is still awaiting for the exhaustive analysis 1. However, the 1 I have dedicated two publications to this theme: G. Surdokaitė, Rūpintojėlio kultas Lietuvoje [in:] R. Janonienė (ed.), Vilniaus dailės akademijos darbai, t. 54: LDK Sakralinė dailė: atodangos ir 288 Gabija Surdokaitė-Vitienė Ill. 1. Mažeikiai district, Viekšniai neighbourhood, Plūgai village, ŠAM Neg Photo by St. Ivanauskas, 1942 majority of my earlier articles aimed at revealing the diversity of iconography, different functions and complex conception of the image of Christ in Distress within the Catholic Church tradition 2. The core of this article is the conceptions of passion, sin and prefiguration of prophet Jeremiah in a multi-meaning image of Christ in Distress. The text focuses on revealing of the conception of this image in the folk culture using the data from folklore and religious folk art. The second half of the 19th century the first half of the last century (up to the Soviet occupation) was selected investigating the expression of Christ in Distress image in religious folk art. This period was determined by the survival of objects and recorded materials of ethnographers and folklorists. The situation of the researches in a field of religious culture, themes and art has dramatically changed in the Soviet period. These themes were naujieji kontekstai, Vilnius 2008, p ; G. Surdokaitė, Šiluva ir 1937 m. Paryžiaus pasaulinė paroda [in:] L. Šinkūnaitė, R. Valinčiūtė-Varnė (ed.), Meno istorija ir kritika, 5: Šiluva Lietuvos kultūroje, Kaunas: Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas, 2009, p Some aspects of this theme and about the sculpture of Christ in Distress for the main exhibition of the Lithuanian pavilion at the 1937 Paris World Exhibition are discussed in the book of G. Jankevičiūtė (G. Jankevičiūtė, Dailė ir valstybė: dailės gyvenimas Lietuvos Respublikoje , Kaunas: Nacionalinis M. K. Čiurlionio dailės muziejus, 2003, p ). 2 G. Surdokaitė, O znaczeniu pewnego wizerunku w życiu religijnym i sztuce: Chrystus Frasobliwy jego funkcja i miejsce, Zarządzanie w Kulturze 2013, nr 14, vol. 2, p ; G. Surdokaitė, Rūpintojėlio pirmavaizdžio problema [in:] M. Iršėnas, G. Surdokaitė (eds.), Vilniaus dailės akademijos darbai, Vilnius 2004, t. 35: M. Iršėnas, G. Surdokaitė (eds.), Pirmavaizdis ir kartotė: vaizdinių transformacijos tyrimai, p ; G. Surdokaitė, Susimąsčiusio Kristaus atvaizdas XVII XVIII a. LDK bažnyčiose: paskirtis ir paplitimas, Menotyra 2005, nr 2, p ; G. Surdokaitė, Balninkų Rūpintojėlio skulptūra, Menotyra 2008, nr 3, p. 1 7; G. Surdokaitė, Susimąsčiusio Kristaus atvaizdo paskirtis, Menotyra 2010, nr 1, p ; Г. Сурдокайте, Иконография, распростанение, назначение образа Спаса Полунощного в XVII XX вв. в Великом Княжестве Литовском и Литве, кн.: Древнерусская скульптура, т. 6: Проблемы иконографии, вып. I, Москва 2009, p , ; Г. Сурдокайте, Иконография Спаса Полунощного в Литве [in:] Деревянная культовая скульптура: Проблемы хранения, изучения, реставрации, Москва 2011, p Understanding the image of Christ in Distress in Lithuanian folk culture forbidden by the Soviet authorities. However, neither in the interwar period nor later after restoration the independence, the recorded materials have not been used by ethnographers, folklore researchers or historians of art. However, they are extremely valuable due to rapidly changing social-cultural conditions. In the 1920s and 1930s, the main conception (popular in the 16 18th century) of consolidation with Saviour in the sense of imitatio and compassio, which is based on the empathy in the Passion of Christ, has changed. At that time, the association have been formed that seated and pensive Christ in the representation of Christ in Distress is suffering together with nation and people. This idea has become a support in a Soviet period in a resistance and underground movement. It was comprehended as a source of consolation, relief and strength. It seems that earlier understanding of this image is forgotten. Therefore, this publication is a tentative attempt to analyse the conception and imaginary aspects of Christ in Distress in folklore and religious folk sculpture until the middle of last century. During the investigation, it was also noticed that the folk conception of Christ in Distress is determined by the culture of the Catholic Church of the late medieval period and the 17 18th century, and is a natural continuation of it. As we shall see later, conception of the image and representation of Christ in Distress is not homogeneous; it covers several aspects which were influenced by devotional literature, meditation guides and descriptions of the Passion of Christ. The class of conservative folk culture has preserved such concept of the image until the middle of the last century. The Passion of Christ and prefiguration of prophet Jeremiah Researchers have not established until now in what context functioned the image of Christ in Distress in the 15th century. However, approximately at the end of the 15th beginning of the 16th century, the figure of seated Jesus was started to be represented in the Passion of Christ, and, in particular, in the Way of the Cross 3. However, it should be noted that, even from the works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Bernard de Clairvaux, ), the conception of Christ as a historical suffering man appears more often. St. Bernard of Clairvaux theologically grounded and gave importance to the human nature aspects of Jesus, its passion and death. Furthermore, he was a theoretician of mysticism, the first have practised empathy of the Passion of Christ (compassio). By going deeper into the life of Christ and passion, in particular, it is turning back to the non-canonical texts 4. The image of a naked Christ resting on a stone which is non-canonical and even the non-apocryphal in its primary implication was a result of individual meditations. 3 Z. Kruszelnicki, Ze studiów nad ikonografią Chrystusa Frasobliwego, Biuletyn Historii Sztuki 1959, nr 3 4, p Z. Kruszelnicki, Ze studiów nad ikonografią..., p. 307. 290 Gabija Surdokaitė-Vitienė First of all, interest in the Passion of Christ has uprose with the crusades. The travelling to the Holy Land and passing the way of the Passion was an attempt to transfer into the place and the events of the Crucifixion. When Jerusalem was conquered (1187, 1244), this possibility has been lost for a certain period. Therefore, first detailed descriptions of saint places appeared and they were commented later 5. The appearance and spread of these descriptions and their comments was influenced by the rise of devotion of the Way of the Cross in the Holy Land, Jerusalem. It was an old tradition to mark important places on the way to the Golgotha with stones and chapels. Eventually, some places of Jesus falls marked with stones were identified with his rest places 6. Stories about the stone on which Christ was sitting have originated ca the 12th century. Later they are observed in literary sources as well. For the first time, such legend was recorded in the writings of Ubertinus de Casali, OFM ( ) in Franciscan Ubertino da Casale in the work Arbor vitae crucifixe Jesu Christi published in 1485 wrote: Therefore, it is said there that with pale face and with some seeming of pain signs in the face, like dispirited and all spear by swords, like a scorned and sorrowful sat on a stone there 8. Tadeusz Dobrzeniecki, researcher of the medieval literature, has noticed that sitting Christ in all medieval texts is mentioned in the last stage of Via dolorosa, entitled as Ductio ad locum crucifixionis (leading to the crucifixion place) 9. Besides U. de Casali, Antonius de Cremina (1320, 1327), as well as St. Bernardino da Siena ( ) and Heinrich von St. Gallen ( ) wrote about this. Bernhard von Breitenbach (1486) has mentioned resting Christ in the description of St. Jerusalem from the 15th century. The image of sitting Christ is found in the works by Christianus Andrichomius, Francesco Queresmi and Bernardyn z Krakowa from the 16 17th century 10. The fourth scene of preparations for the crucifiction Christ being sat on a stone, as the crucifixion preparation works are going. Bared Mr Christ was sat down on the stone on Calvary hill, it is said and represented in the miniature of the manuscript Rozmyślania dominikańskie 11. Stone was also mentioned in the visions of Augustinian Anne Catherine Emmerich which were very popular and published several times in Lithuanian and Polish in the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century S. Fehlemann, Christus im Elend: vom Andachtsbild zum realistichen Bildokument [in:] Ikonographie: Anleitung zum Lesen Bildern, München 1990, p Z. Kruszelnicki, Ze studiów nad ikonografią..., p T. Dobrzeniecki, Chrystus Frasobliwy w literaturze średniowiecznej,,,biuletyn Historii Sztuki 1968, nr 3, p Unde et ibi dicitur quod quibusdam signis dolorosis et palloribus praetensis in facie quasi angustianus et totus gladiatus super lapidem ibi positum quasi despectuose et dolorose resedit, T. Dobrzeniecki, Chrystus Frasobliwy..., p T. Dobrzeniecki, Chrystus Frasobliwy..., p T. Dobrzeniecki, Chrystus Frasobliwy..., p Pana Jezvsza obnazonego na kameyneyv posadzono nagorze kalwaryey Rozmyślania dominikańskie, wyd. i oprac. K. Górski i W. Kuraszkiewicz; oprac. ikonogr. Z. Rozanow; wstęp komparatyst. T. Dobrzeniecki, t. 1, Wrocław 1965, p A.K. Emmerich, Sopulinga muka Vieszpaties musu Jėzaus Cgristaus Pagal apdumojimu Onos-Kotrinos Emmeryk, zakonikes Augustinionu, Vilniuje 1864, p. 102. Understanding the image of Christ in Distress in Lithuanian folk culture Gert von der Osten affirms that the image of Christ in Distress has originated in Germany at the end of the 14th century 13. However, his hypothesis is grounded by the mistaken dating of two sculptures. The oldest remaining samples of this image are dated to the end of the 15th century. Hence, it took almost three centuries until the imaginary of pensive Christ, recorded in the literary form for the first time, was materialized in the art. The image of Christ in Distress at the beginning has appeared in various art forms paintings, miniature, graphics (the first carving dates back to 1478). However, usually it was a sculptural image. From the end of the 15th first quarter of the 16th century, the sculptures are found in the whole territory in which the image of Christ in Distress was spreading (German lands, Lesser Poland and Greater Poland, Czech Crown, etc.). Cycles of the Passion of Christ were of various structures until the 18th century. It was different number of Stations and its content. Therefore, the image of Christ in Distress was inserted when representing the different Stations in the art. In , Hans Holbein ( ) has painted a cycle of pictures Die Graue Passion, which consists of twelve linens representing the Passion of Christ 14. The pensive Christ surrounded by soldiers is shown in the ninth picture. In the beginning of the 16th century, the representation of alone, seated Christ has crystallized from the multi-figure compositions in religious art. Such representation of Christ in Distress was recognized as a symbol of all passions, experienced by Christ, and in sacral place he, usually sculpture, was standing separate from other works. The works representing alone pensive Christ in the European religious art more often were created until the end of the 18th century (in Lithuania until the last century) and later generally disappeared (Ill. 2). The tradition of representing the image of Christ in Distress in folk art continued longer until the last century (this tradition is still alive in some countries, e.g. Lithuania, Poland). However, such representation of Christ in the religious art was included in the common conception of Catholic Church decoration and was a part of the Passion of Christ or Way of the Cross. The scene of pre-crucifixion (or waiting of crucifixion) is an episode of the Passion of Christ in which descriptions of the seated Christ image are found. In this scene, the representation of Christ seated on a stone is considered as a prefiguration of the lamentations of Jeremiah for destructed Jerusalem. This prefiguration 15 has appeared in the Middle Ages, when the lamentations of Jeremiah (lamentatio) in the lit- 13 G. Osten von der, Christus im Elend, ein niederdeutsches Andachtsbild [in:] Westfalen. Hefte für Geschichte Kunst und Volkskunde, Bd. 30, Münster 1952, p Hans Holbein: Der Ältere und die Kunst der Spätgotik: [Exhibition catalogue], Augsburg 1965, p Prefiguration a term used to demonstrate how the Old Testament is directly related to the elements of the New Testament. Hence, some characters of the Old Testament (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Elias, Jeremiah, etc.) are recognized as prophets of the message of Jesus Christ. Christians recognized the prophesies from Jeremiah as a prophesy of the Passion of Christ. Jeremiah never wanted to be a prophet, throughout all years of activity he has struggled with the power of God s word and tried not to speak on the behalf of God. However, did not afforded to do this, and proclaimed the forthcoming Messiah with his life, The Bible (The third revised and supplemented ecumenical edition), Vilnius 2005, p 292 Gabija Surdokaitė-Vitienė Ill. 2. Krakės St. Mathew Church (relocated from Krakės St. Katharina Church). 3th qr. of the 18th c. Wood, polychrome, H 73 cm. Photo by R. Valinčiūtė, 2007 urgy of Holy Week were performed in which he lamented the destruction of Jerusalem 16. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me . (Lam. 1, 12) 17. This fragment from the Book of Lamentations usually was interpreted not only as a prophecy of the Passion of Christ, but used also to express the passions. From the early Middle Ages, Improperia 18 was performed in the liturgy of the Good Friday; it was also inserted in the subsequent Passions and dramas. The image of Christ sitting on the stone or cross is found in them. Already in the Late Middle Ages, the representation of Christ in Distress expressed the sincere personal relationship of believers with Christ. This illustrates lamentations of the Saviour read on Good Friday. The undressed Christ in dramas talks to the folk with the words while sitting on the cross: O My people, what have I done unto thee? And wherein have I wearied thee? Egerer Fronleichnamspiel, the drama of the 15th century, narrates about Christ, which after the undressing seat on the Cross and lamented Improperia: O My people, what have I done unto thee? And wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against Me! 20. Meditations on the Passion of Christ Rozmyślania dominikańskie written in 1532 are narrating how Christ was seated on a stone, and put his legs in the stocks ( And sat the Lord of all the world in this stock on stone with hand supported head 21 ). Therefore, the prophet Jeremiah is considered 16 T. Dobrzeniecki, Chrystus Frasobliwy..., p G. Finaldi (ed.), The Image of Christ, London 2000, p Improperia antiphons chant on Good Friday during service of the Holy Cross. They express a conversation of the Saviour with his folk. Such way of singing in Europe gradually spread from the 9th century, and was included in the Roman Rituals in the 14th century. 19 E.A. Schuler, Die Musik der Osterfeiern, Osterspiele und Passionen des Mittelalters, Kassel 1951, p. 72; S. Fehlemann, Christus im Elend..., p This quotation is taken from the Book of Micah, Old Testament (Mic. 6, 3); T. Dobrzeniecki, Chrystus Frasobliwy..., p Rozmyślania dominikańskie, p. 73. Understanding the image of Christ in Distress in Lithuanian folk culture as a prefiguration of Christ. Then Pashhur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the High Gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord. And it came to pass on the morrow that Pashhur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him: The Lord hath not called thy name Pashhur, but Magormissabib! (Jer 20, 2 3). The parallel of sitting Christ and prophet Jeremiah is popular in the Baroque period as well. It is often found in the printed and manuscript meditations and sermons of the Passion of Christ in Grand Duchy of Lithuania (hereinafter GDL). For example, Jan Zrzelski, Jesuit, Rector of the Jesuit College in Minsk ( ) wrote in 1740: The sweetest Christ, as prophet Jeremiah once, seated on a stone which was given to him instead of the throne, started to sing sorrowful laments. but the daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness 22. Ill. 3. Christ in Distress from Aleksandravėlė Church called as Jesus lamenting for Jerusalem, beginning of the 17th c. Wood, remains of polychrome, H 75 cm. VDKM inv. No. BM 47. Photo by K. Driskius, 2003 As we can see, there was not a single fragment from the Book of Lamentations used to express the Passion of Christ. Each author on this subject selected a quotation, which, in his view, best suited to express sufferings of the Saviour. The sculptures of Christ in Distress in the inventory or visitation acts of the catholic churches from GDL were also identified as Jesus lamenting for Jerusalem (Ill. 3) 23. Popularity of the parallels of sitting Christ and the prophet Jeremiah in the Baroque period has influenced the folk image of Christ in Distress. This is illustrated by the Paschal folk oration recorded by Alfred Römer in Švenčionys powiat in This quotation is taken from the Book of Lamentations, Old Testament (Lam. 4, 3) (J. Zrzelski, BOLESŁAW albo Krol Bolesci ... Podany W. X. Jana Zrzelskiego Soc: Jesu. Ná ten czás Rektora Collegium Mińskiego, W Wilnie w Drukárni J K. M. Akádemickiey Soc: Jesu. Roku 1740, p. 159). 23 For example, act of the visitation of Aleksandravėlė Church in 1830 (LVIA F. 669, AP. 2, b. 241, l. 598v). 24 E. Romer, Oracja Wielkanocna, Wisła 1897, t. 11, p The folk oration is recorded and published in the incorrect Polish language. Therefore, only narration will be provided: Jesus morti- 294 Gabija Surdokaitė-Vitienė Rozalimas City mentioned in the oration is probably Jerusalem. The place-name Rozalimas in Lithuania originates from Jeruzolimas the masculine form of the ancient Lithuanian name of Jerusalem. There are several Jeruzolimas in Lithuania. A small town and village Rozalimas are in Pakruojis and Kupiškis districts; Tumasonys village in Kupiškis district was called Jeruzolimas as well. Therefor
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