Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Mr Greenwood's Crucifixion

It was the last holiday we took en famille- my parents, my sister, myself. I forget exactly how old I was. Nineteen, twenty- something like that. I filmed proceedings on my dad's old 8mm camera because those were the days when I thought I was Jean Luc Godard. When I edited the film I left all the shots of myself on the cutting room floor except for a close-up at the end which I thought was a nice, auteurish touch. My mother thought it was wankerish (not language she'd have ever used) but then she never understood me...

I'm remembering all this because today is Good Friday and that was the holiday that took us to Colmar and I got to stand in front of Matthias Grunewald's Isenheimer altarpiece with it's central panel of the crucifixion- the most graphic image of a brutalised human body in all western art. 

(That is, until Mel Gibson came along)

Image:Mathis Gothart Grünewald 023.jpg

Here's a close-up. Horrid, isn't it?

My mother didn't like it. I did. I liked it lots. 

But now?  But now I see it as manipulative.

Grunewald's trying to get to us.  He's pushing buttons. Sex. Transgression. Guilt.   Especially guilt.  You did this to Jesus, Jesus did this for you: don't you think you should be feeling really bad about yourself?

(And while you're in this mood, how about giving us some money?)

You see,  I've been a Christian preacher. I know how the system works. 

My German is rudimentary, but doesn't Grunewald translate as Greenwood?

Mr Greenwood's crucifixion.  Ha!
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