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The Preaching of John the Baptist: Herri met de Bles’s Visual Exegesis and Expanded Typology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains how Herri met de Bles's landscapes visualize the emphasis on darkness opposed to light and on the typological relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus. Bles's landscapes are characterized by a repertoire of recurring motifs actively involved in the visual exegesis, by way of their interactions with each other and with the biblical protagonists. In the Preaching of John, the base of the dead tree, surrounded by the audience, contains a dark cavity housing John. The visual antithesis is completed and amplified by the polarity between the visionary protagonist and another of Bles's recurrent figures - the blind man and his guide. Physical and spiritual blindness, pharisaism, and the light of Christ, which opens the eyes of the blind, are the constant themes in those texts relating the blind man and his guide to the biblical story of John the Baptist.

Keywords: Herri met de Bles; Jesus; John; pharisaism; spiritual blindness; visual exegesis



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