Nominalism, Naturalism, and the Intensification of Passion Piety

Richard Viladesau

in The Beauty of the Cross

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195188110
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784738 | DOI:
 Nominalism, Naturalism, and the Intensification of Passion Piety

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The fresco of the crucifixion by Giotto in the Arena chapel represents the beginning of naturalism in Western painting. The theology of the cross during this period shows the increasing influence of the philosophy of the nominalism of William of Ockham and his followers. The separation of faith from reason, combined with incipient artistic naturalism and the religious pessimism that followed the great Plague, contributed to a new emphasis on the sufferings and wounds of Christ, which dramatically expressed the consequences of human sin. This was expressed artistically in expanded and emotional treatments of the crucifixion in drama (the passion plays), as well as new images like the pietà, that stressed compunction with Mary.

Keywords: drama; Giotto; faith and reason; Mary; nominalism; passion play; pietà; sin; suffering; William of Ockham

Chapter.  17128 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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