Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Bleeding Woman

Title: Untitled (The Bleeding Woman)

Medium: Fresco
4th Century AD
Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, Rome, Italy.

The Roman catacombs, or underground burial places, are extremely important in the history of early Christian art, as they contain the great majority of the fresco and sculpture examples from before 400 AD.

Depicted appears to be events described in Mark 5:25-34, where a woman who had been bleeding for years came up behind Jesus in a crowd, believing that by touching his garments she would get well. The typically unbearded Christ gestures openly to her, graphically interpreting the passage “You are now well because of your faith.”

This fresco, and others like it, are over 1600 years old. As they had lain forgotten for hundreds of those years the name of the artist has been lost with the passage of time. Fortunately, through the work of Antonio Bosio, who accidentally rediscovered the catacombs in 1578, such priceless art treasures have allowed us a unique window into the early Christian church.

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