Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Moravian visual tradition

I have, somewhere or other, an extensive collection of photographs of paintings by John Valentine Haidt, and other Moravian imagery. I hope to post these images here in due course. Meanwhile, I attach some photos I took in the Moravian Archive, Bethlehem.

Gottlieb Creutzberg, Seelenrühe in den Wunden Jesu.

Gesangbuch. Appendix XI.

Inuit manuscript from Labrador.

The Creuzberg ("True soul's peace in the wounds of Jesus") is a Pietist text that once belonged to J.V. Haidt
Gottlieb Creutzbergs Wahre Seelen-Rühe in den Wunden Jesu, Oder Achtig Passions Andachten, über Das gantze Leiden und Sterben unsers Herrn und Heilandes Jesu Christi. Die fünffte Auflage, Dabey … noch eine Andacht von der Aufferstehung Christi beygefüget worden.--Leipzig : J. F. Gleditsch, 1733.
There is an engraved frontispiece and eighteen other engraved plates. The Moravians tend nowadays to treat the emphasis on the blood and the wounds as part of what made early Moravianism distinctive. But we see here that they were borrowing from an established and pervasive Pietist spirituality. As an example of Lutheran "blood and wounds" one might note J. S. Bach's Cantata no 199, Mein Herze schwimmt  in Blut--wonderful music for really rather repellent words. Here, in the frontispiece to Creutzberg, we see in illustration the words of William Blake's mother when she applied to join the Fetter Lane congregation: "I cling to the cross all night".

The Gesangbuch shows a drawing by Haidt on the flyleaf of Appendix XI to the Moravians' German hymnal; there are very few drawings in Haidt's hand now surviving even though his paintings suggest extensive preliminary sketching. The resurrected Christ, with a Tau cross, has become a veritable fountain of redeeming blood.

The Labrador illustration shows a modified engraving pasted into an Inuit manuscript, the Redeemer's blood highlighted.

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