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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Art - The Sacrifice of Isaac by Gentileschi

The Supreme Sacrifice
Pierre-Marie Dumont

"In this painting, Gentileschi proposes a multi-level interpretation.  On the first level, that of the first Covenant, the angel abruptly stops the horrible act of infanticide.  His expression is severe, and with his left hand raised toward heaven he points, in a sort of anticipation of Sinai, to the Law of God: You shall not kill!  God thus gives a harsh lesson to Abraham, guilty of having believed it possible that the Lord would have asked him to adopt the monstrous practice of that period - offering first-born sons in sacrifice to the titular deity.  Later, Moses will explain that offering first-born sons to God means to consecrate them, not to sacrifice them.  On the second level, that of the new and eternal Covenant, Gentileschi, unlike Caravaggio and Rembrandt, represents Issac as neither constrained nor terrified.  He who carried the wood for his own sacrifice is here the figure of Jesus Christ.  Now, Jesus testifies that God his Father, our Father, does not wish to sacrifice his Son, just as he did not want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac:  No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down on my own, he affirms.  But as Savior of the world, it is no less true that Jesus exalts the greatness of the supreme sacrifice, since he is the only offering pleasing to God:  No one shows greater love than by laying down his life for those he loves." (Excerpt from Magnificat July 2013 Vol 15 No.5 page 432) 

For devotional items related to the Catholic Saints please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures 
Art The Sacrifice of Issac - Gentileschi
Galleria Nazionale della Liguria, Genoa
Palazzo Spinola

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