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Strategies For Depicting The Son In Christian Art

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Chapter Summary

Questions about Milton's portraits of God the Father and the Son have usually been addressed as questions about theology: what did Milton believe and how are various Christian doctrines reflected in his poems? This chapter demonstrates that the visual arts made a set of practices for approaching the ineffable available, and that this material had a strong influence on Milton's reformation of English poetry. The dominance of the passion in Christian iconography between the twelfth century and the Reformation needs to be understood within a broader context of Christian representational traditions, theories and controversies. The coexistence of competing models for portraying Jesus even within the story of the crucifixion, the development of iconography alongside changes in theology, and the possibility of portraying the passion without depicting a dead Christ all resonate in Milton's artistic choices as well.

Keywords: Christian iconography; crucifixion; Milton



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