For centuries, artists of all kinds – from Michelangelo to Martin Scorsese, Salvador Dali to Damien Hirst and Andrew Lloyd Webber to Monty Python – have attempted to convey the meaning of the crucifixion through their work.
For many it has been a deeply personal expression of belief. Now anatomist Dr Gunther von Hagens, who made his name showing the world the wonders of the human body through his Body Worlds exhibitions, has decided to create a crucifix.
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Dali’s Cross of St John of the Cross
Gunther von Hagens certainly knows how to set the critics alight…
Channel Four’s showing of the story of his CRUCIFIXION plastination model,
showing an anatomically correct recreation of Christ on the cross was totally absorbing in more ways than one. From watching the red plastic being absorbed into the arterial and skeletal systems of donor corpses to observing the silent reactions
of the carpenters who prepared the cross I found myself utterly intrigued.
Here we saw a man subdued by Parkinson’s, but still pushing the boundaries of good taste as he lifts the veil on death’s taboo. Here is a man who is not afraid of death, or corpses, or what can happen afterwards… or is he? How did it make you feel? Is von Hagens just out to make mischief as a confirmed atheist? Or was he attempting to recreate some of the world’s masterpieces? What do you think of his extraordinary fascination with death?