The language of the image


A commentary on Caressing the Cross: A Spanish Devotional Brooch.

This post was begging to be reblogged –  it appealed to the notions that are behind what I would like to engage with here. These religious images speak to Molam de Love, the author of the blog – they communicate, they link in to a narrative, they have a semiology that is encoded and understood by a religious community sharing a broader notional and faith base. The author still understands and engages with this code even though she may no longer share the dogmatic view of the divine instance prescribed by the upper echelons of the community. Emotional and aesthetic responses are triggered by the code and the blogger relishes and engages with her responses in an appreciative and conscious manner. In a way, the images function in much the same way as language, but perhaps on a richer level because they allow a greater polysemy and are more readily accepted as polysemous than language, where people sometimes insist on the literal and “correct”.

The other aspect of the appeal of this blog post for me is that I, too, was raised in a Catholic background and these images also speak to me, and are also in that way part of me. What I find somehow surprising is that the sensuousness of religious (Christian) imagery is so often overlooked – except by connoisseurs like Molam de Love.

St Francis Xavier devotional brooch
St Francis Xavier devotional brooch – reproduced with permission

Read the blog post here:

Caressing the Cross: A Spanish Devotional Brooch.

© Cate Kimberley and Word and Affect, 2012

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