Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bloch Painting Response

This post basically records my various thoughts while viewing the painting "Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda" (mostly in question- answer format) and trying to discover what it has to do about being a disciple scholar. Here it goes.

Why is the man in the red hat the center of focus?
-Maybe because Bloch wants to teach us what the real focus of Christ's ministry was- people and their needs, not himself. His eyes and his position are vital to the painting- I think that his expression shows a sense of wonder and says, "I wonder if this man will do anything miraculous." Yet, he looks somewhat withdrawn from the situation; he doesn't turn his head enough to directly face Jesus or the other cripple ; he seems to still remember his infirmities and still is trying to focus his attention on himself.
The pool seems to be a place of self- interest; people seem to be merrily content to continue whatever they're doing, even the other cripples. Obviously, nobody does much to help anyone there. The only person (besides Christ) that seems to be contemplating the scene is the little girl, who seems to be surveying the situation and wondering why nobody's doing anything about it. She isn't looking in the direction of Christ, but stares right out of the painting. I think one of the most important topics in this painting is the irony that everyone is just waiting to be healed, focusing on themselves and continuing in their mundane lives, when they could easily try to help heal people and thus heal themselves.
The savior showing light to the cripple seems to surprise him and the cripple quickly begins to tell of his situation. The first thing Christ asks him (though not in the picture) is interesting- he asks the cripple if he thinks he'll be healed But the cripple knows he can't do it unless someone carries him first. In a way, this sort of represents all of mankind- we need God's help in everything we do to make it successful. Education is definitely a prime example of this.
Maybe the colors signify something- obviously the whiteness of Christ, but also the red of the pharisees- and its correspondence with the red cap of the cripple in the center. Maybe it signifies pride- the cripple is more humble than the pharisees, but he still is holding on to his pride.
Questions I made that I was unable to answer:
Who is the old lady behind the woman with the water jug?
What does the overall layout of the light mean? Does it characterize the people of different areas of the painting?

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