Salvator Mundi in a Landscape
Master of the Mansi Magdalene, Netherlandish (active Antwerp), active c. 1510 - c. 1530
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Christ is here shown holding an orb surmounted by a cross that symbolizes his domain over the earth, marking him as Salvator Mundi—Savior of the World. This image retains many of the conventional features of Byzantine icons: Christ’s frontal pose, centrally parted hair, and gesture of blessing, but the artist has extended the figure to full length and placed him in a landscape setting. Christ’s central position in the composition divides the picture into two symbolically mirrored halves. For example, the rabbits on the left signal lust due to their notorious breeding habits while the swans on the right, thought to partner for life, stand for purity. This anonymous artist is named after a painting of the Magdalene formerly in the collection of the Marchese Battista Mansi.
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