Christ on the Road: Eichenberg and Nesterov
Yesterday thinking about Fritz Eichenberg's famous work "Christ of the Breadlines",
done in the depression era for the newspaper 'Catholic Worker', I associate to another
picture of Christ appearing in the world and in another country--the "Holy Russia
' of Mikahail Nesterov.
Three thoughts if you will bear with me.
1) The Nesterov has a rather large element of shlock it seems to me in its
idealizing of a Russia made up of saints and devout nobility and wanderers and
poor folk all at one in meeting the Lord.
2)At the same time it is not an ignoble ideal image of a land and it has surely
its elements of and moments of truth to the Russian historical reality. Norman
Rockwell's America is both shlock and also in ways true and also is well
crafterd,as all the more is Nesterov's work well made. Eichenberg's work is
simpler and seems true to what it represents.
I suppose,as to Russia, the question is whether this is intended, or separately
as seen(whatever its intention was), as a fantasy or dream about an ideal
Russia or whether it is expressing an aspiration. In the latter case all is
well ,in the former this art is pernicious in some measure.
3)That as Jesus said that after the Resurrection he would be met among and indeed
in the persons of 'the least' of people. A Christian may rather literally take
it that the appearances after the Resurrection continue today in these encounters
in and through and beside the unknown stranger.