Posts Tagged ‘Christ on the Cross project’

Digital projects in Ireland: Christ on the Cross at UCC

18 June 2010

Contributed by Juliet Mullins

First impressions of the Crucifixion scene in the tenth-century Irish Southampton Psalter might be that it is crude, simplistic and unsophisticated. When cataloguing the manuscript, M. R. James described its three images as affording: “most striking examples at once of skill in decoration and total inability to draw figures”. Even the colour palette seems to confirm that this image represents an impoverished and diminished descendent of the tradition which reached such heights in the Book of Kells. When we turn to contemporary Irish writings on the Crucifixion, however, we find poets and exegetes revelling in the complex symbolism that the Passion affords. The Cross functions as a sign of Christ’s suffering, a symbol of his saving grace and, finally, as an image of judgment and the end of earthly time. These symbols can be traced not only in literature, but also in images, the use of space, music and the liturgy. ‘Christ on the Cross’ is an interdisciplinary project that aims to provide a holistic approach to medieval culture that brings together these different areas of study into a shared space. Drawing upon the expertise of its constituent members, this research team aims to demonstrate that the Cross is the most potent of all objects in early medieval culture: it is a strikingly simple image in structural terms, yet its significance is profound and its readings multifaceted. Read More