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Le voleur de paradis

Christiane Klapisch-Zuber

Christ was crucified next to two other men, the good and the bad thief. The first, long ago forgotten, was quite famous in his time, used in particular as the last resource in the execution of criminals, as a viaricum towards the "good death" and redemption. This book is an in-depth study on Dismas’ posterity and his iconography, it reviews not only the position of the different crucifixes, the shape of the cross and the nails, the work of the medieval brotherhoods, but the catalogue of the tortures (impalement, evisceration, or the vertical division of the body at the scimitar) as well. Was Dismas represented young or old, nude or dressed, good looking or ugly? Does he look at Jesus or not? Does he suffer? Is the angel always represented on his shoulder? From Antonello da Messina to Cranach, from Gaudenzio Ferrari to Rubens, the greatest painters studied his case. During the XVIth century, during the Reformation, Dismas was very much in vogue, he even accompanied Christ to limbo and became a just. It is high time we rediscovered this famous stranger.

Le voleur de paradis by Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, published by Alma, 2015, 384 p., €29.

Le voleur de paradis - Christiane Klapisch-Zuber

Review published in the newsletter #403 - from 22 October 2015 to 28 October 2015

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