Home
 
Model Parish Church                      DEVOTIONAL IMAGERY
 
 
 
Suffering Christ as devotional icon.  
The popularity of the Virgin of Pity is grounded on the centrality of Christís Passion in late medieval piety. Christís body is shown with the effects of his suffering, emaciated and covered with the wounds from the flagellation and marks of the nails in his hands and feet and his open side.  The Virgin is often shown cradling the body of her dead son. The devotional image of the Five Wounds, in decorative pattern as well as a badge, further abstracted the representation of the suffering body.  The image of God the Father holding the body of Christ crucified (called the Throne of Grace), with the Dove of the Holy Spirit became one of the most common means of representing the Trinity in the 15th century.  This image is found in Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, York, in the altar window given in 1470 by Rev. John Walker.  Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, representative of spiritual writers of the time, frequently referred to Christís suffering.  When enclosed in the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem overnight, Kempe recalls that she was given a vision of Christís actual death on the cross: "in the cité of hir sowle sche saw veryly and freschly how owyr Lord was crucifyed" (Chap. 28: lines 1564-75) after which she cried out with uncontrollable weeping.