Showing posts from January, 2014


Response to Matthew J. Milliner, “The Sexuality of Christ in Byzantine Art and in Hypermodern Oblivion” Everybody loves a scandal. Traveling to Istanbul in 1717 the Englishwoman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was shocked to see images of the Virgin Mary executed with no effort at naturalism. “The Greeks,” she wrote home, “have the most monstrous taste in their pictures, which for more finery are always drawn upon a gold ground. You may imagine what a good air this has, but they have no notion either of shade or proportion.” En route through the Holy Roman Empire, she had been equally shocked to see pictures of the Trinity. Writing from Regensburg, she told her friend Anne Thistlethwayte, “I was very much scandalized at a large silver image of the Trinity where the Father is represented under the figure of a decrepit old man with a beard down to his knees, and a triple crown on his head, holding in his arms the Son fixed on the Cross, and the Holy Ghost in the shape of a dove hovering over