2

Christian iconography question. This is about a 1936 life-sized statue of Jesus Christ fallen beneath the cross, by sculptor Somló Sári. The statue is at Budapest 2. ker. Pasaréti tér, next to the Franciscan roman catholic church of Pasarét dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, in a fenced garden next to the bell tower.

The statue depicts another men besides Christ. This second figure is holding what looks like a flail in his right hand, ready to strike Christ. Who is this second figure?

(photo of the garden with the statue)

I expect that this question is answerable because Catholic mythology concerning Christ's passion is as detailed as the expanded universe for the original Star Wars movie trilogy. Every character and inanimate item encountered has not only a name, but also a also book-length back story. We know about the two criminals who were on the cross next to Christ, about the soldiers who verified that he's dead, etc. A person who stands next to the fallen Christ with a flail seems significant enough that he must have a definite identity.

(Cross-post from hu.Wikipedia reference desk, where I didn't get an answer.)

1
  • Do you know which of the 3 times Christ fell on the procession to Cavalry this is representing? That might narrow it down a bit. Also I'm surprised the other 11 stations don't have statues. – Spencer Feb 19 at 14:42
2

This seems like a depiction of either the third, the seventh or the ninth station of the Way of the Cross, called "Jesus falls for the first/second/third time". The scene often includes a soldier or a civilian pulling Jesus with a rope and beating/whipping him, see for example this painting by Martin Feuerstein:

enter image description here

The scene does not appear in any of the Gospels (you can check them here: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19), and in fact, only John has Jesus carrying the cross himself. Since it is not based on the scriptures, but rather on popular tradition starting in the late Middle Ages, the iconography of the Way of the Cross can vary a lot, and no details are given about minor albeit recurring characters like the one you are asking about.

By contrast, we know more about Longinus and the two thieves because they are mentioned in the Gospels, and they are even given names in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus.

2
  • 1
    You are right that the two thieves and the soldier Longinus were bad examples for me to give because they appear in the Gospels, whereas Christ falling with the cross does not. But there are other elements of the passion that do not appear in the bible, yet have a detailed enough story in mythology, most notably the veil of Veronica. – b_jonas Feb 19 at 18:39
  • 1
    Keep in mind that also in the case of Veronica, the character dates back to the Gospel of Nicodemus and the very similar story of the Image of Edessa is attested in 4th century sources. The medieval tradition simply combined the two (possibly via the correspondence Veronica = Vera Icon). – Gullintanni Feb 19 at 21:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.