Theodyceal's Message of The Isenheim Altarpiece


Abstract

The article contains the ideological and aesthetic analysis of the retabolic altar from Isenheim by M. Grünewald. The altar consists of a sequence of images. They present various themes. The aim of the article is to indicate the presence of the theodycelan problem as the main thread. A number of topics were identified in the study of images. These are not only theological but also anthropological and philosophical topics. These themes take the form of a question about conditio humana. The research took into account the wide historical and socio-existential context of creating images. It provides a hermeneutic key for its deep interpretation. The subject of detailed analysis are the representations contained in individual scenes of the image sequences. They are arranged in a specific order, aimed at bringing comfort and hope to the inhabitants of the monastery hospital in Isenheim, who suffer from ergotism. Therefore, the altar was not only a liturgical function. It also contained a saving message for people struggling with the question of the meaning of suffering. He gave the opportunity to identify those who suffered with the characters depicted in the pictures.


Keywords

theodicy; Antonites; polyptych; suffering; Grünewald theodicy; Antonites; polyptych; suffering; Grünewald

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Published
2020-12-31

Cited by

Piecuch, J. (2020). Theodyceal’s Message of The Isenheim Altarpiece. Studia Warmińskie, 57, 211–225. https://doi.org/10.31648/sw.5211

Joachim Piecuch 
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3078-717X