Beauty, through Christ, will Save the World
An Easter reading of Dostoevsky's The Idiot
In August 1867, at the Kunstmuseum in Basel Switzerland, Fyodor Dostoevsky found himself standing before a painting of Christ, unable to look away. The work entitled “The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb” (by Hans Holbein 1520-1522, below) depicts the disfigured reality of Christ’s mortal frame after his crucifixion. Dostoevsky’s second wife, Anna Grigorievna, whom he married in February of that same year, wrote that the painting “portrays Jesus Christ, who has suffered inhuman torture, has been taken down from the cross and given over to corruption. His swollen face is covered with bloody wounds, and he looks terrible. The painting made an overwhelming impression on my husband, and he stood before it as if dumbstruck” (Pevear ix).
For this Easter season, I wrote about this painting and its influence in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. You can read the full piece here.
Yes, beauty will save the world, and that beauty comes in and through Christ the Redeemer.