字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Ever see a medieval painting of baby Jesus sitting or standing on his mother's lap and wonder why she's so large? Paintings like Cimabue's enthroned Madonna with angels or Duccio's Maesta also appear out of proportion. If Mary were to stand up, it seems, the angels in the picture would be as tall as her shin bone, and her torso would be disproportionately small when compared to her legs. Maybe you thought the artist simply wasn't skilled enough to paint realistically or lacked the mathematical skill of perspective. But that's not the full story. To understand why, we need to go back to the late fifth century when the city of Rome was attacked by the Goths. Rome was built in marble and meant to last forever. It represented, for many years, the pinnacle of human civilization, so its destruction left a huge void. Theologians, who preached about a world beyond the physical, began attracting an audience as Rome crumbled, and Christianity started to fill the void left by the Empire. As a replacement for the physical beauty of Rome, Christianity offered a metaphysical beauty of virtue and an eternal heaven that could not be destroyed as Rome had. After the fall of Rome, early medieval theologians turned away from physical beauty, rejecting it in favor of inner-beauty. They maintained that while the physical world was temporary, virtue and religion were permanent. Beautiful objects could lead to a misguided worship of the object rather than the worship of goodness. It is said that the early sixth century preacher, St. Benedict, upon thinking of a beautiful woman, threw himself into a thorn patch, and through his suffering, regained his focus on spiritual beauty. He feared his desire for the beautiful woman would distract him from his desire to love God. As European civilization transitioned away from empires and towards religion, monasteries became the gatekeepers of knowledge, which meant that classical books that praised physical pleasures were not copied or protected. Without protection, they became the victims of natural decay, fire, flooding, or pests. And without the help of monks transcribing new copies, these texts and the philosophies they carried disappeared in Western Europe and were replaced by the works of people like St. Benedict, which brings us back to these depictions of Jesus and Mary. Because Christianity had so fervently rejected physical beauty, these medieval artists purposefully avoided aesthetically pleasing forms. At first, decorations for churches or palaces were limited to interesting geometric patterns, which could be pleasing without inspiring sinful thoughts of physical pleasure. As the medieval period progressed, depictions of Jesus and Mary were tolerated, but the artist clearly made an effort to veil Mary and give her disproportionately large legs, with those enormous shin bones. The fear remained that a beautiful illustration of Mary might inspire the viewer to love the painting or the physical form of Mary, rather than the virtue she's meant to represent. So even though it may be fun to think we can paint more realistically than Cimabuey or Duccio, we need to remember that they had different goals when picking up a paintbrush.