The Blood of Abel

This painting comes from late medieval Strasbourg (c. 1410) It is currently in an art museum in Colmar, Alsace (France). Source of Image

This image demonstrates the summation of medieval Christian piety with the bleeding, dying Jesus and the compassionate Blessed Mother.  These devotional emphases became more pronounced in twelfth-century sermons and devotional works.  The artistic flowering of the late medieval period and early Renaissance also adopted many of these devotional themes.  As I was reading Peter of Blois’s sermon on the Lord’s Supper, Peter’s words reminded me of this image.  They read:

“For Christ with his own hands affixed our sins to the cross and so that he might redeem wretched man (homo). After a multitude of miseries, he offered himself as the evening sacrifice.” Peter of Blois, Sermo 19: On the Lord’s Supper, PL 207:615D [my translation]

“For, the Passion made atonement for all our iniquities.  The blood of Abel calls out for vengeance, the blood of Christ calls out for redemption.  This is the blood of the unspotted Lamb, with whom the highest priest, having found holy, eternal redemption, entered once.” Peter of Blois, Sermo 19: On the Lord’s Supper, PL 207:616 [my translation]

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