Art Spotlight: Sotio's 'Christus Triumphans'


Detail from the Crucifix, 1187, by Alberto Sotio DeAgostini/Getty

What do we have here?

Oh, merely a close-up from Alberto Sotio's 1187 crucifix "Christus Triumphans" in which the skull of primordial Adam drinks sacrificial blood from the pierced feet of Jesus on the hill of Golgotha.

(DeAgostini/Getty)

With imagery such as this, is it any wonder the Western world is so preoccupied with vampires? Blood becomes a drink of cosmic salvation and immortality, rather than the nutrient-poor diet of parasites.

As discussed on Key to Umbria, the full Christ is pictured with his eyes open, seemingly impervious to his physical torments. This was the predominant style prior to the 13th century, during which it became increasingly proper to depict the suffering of Christ (Here's an extreme of that).

He looks so detached, so otherworldly...


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.