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Finding Faith: A rare example of medieval humor


Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of the British Museum

Lucien de Guise - published on 05/17/20

These tiles feature a side of Jesus you won't find in the Bible.

A series that looks at the visual arts for signs of the universal Church in sometimes unexpected places.
The image of Christianity in the Middle Ages isn’t always fun. The medieval mind was, however, sometimes lighthearted.
Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of the British Museum
These 14th-century tiles from an English church show a young Jesus whom you won’t find in the Bible. In the first tile, a stern father puts his son in lockdown so that he can’t play with the boy Jesus. In the second tile, Jesus performs a miracle by pulling his young friend though a keyhole. No damage appears to have been done, so presumably playtime can resume. Somebody must have disliked the idea of the tough parent, as his face has been scratched out at a later point.
Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of the British Museum
Lucien de Guise is on Instagram @crossxcultural. As a Catholic writer, editor, curator and former museum director, his aim is to build bridges through art.
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