March 14, 2011

Unusual Depictions of Jesus Week: Jesus as a Pharmacist

Throughout history Christan mythology has been depicted with great variety. Because images of Jesus are so common in the history of art, I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the more unusual works.

I recently discovered that it was a trend in German-speaking Europe since the Middle Ages to depict Jesus as (of all things) a pharmacist or apothecary as it was known at the time. Apparently the metaphor involved distributing blessings and virtues as "cures" (in medicine jars), the weighing of morality in the same way a pharmacist or apothecary weighs ingredients for drugs, and similar symbols. These strange paintings were usually displayed in apothecary shops and I can't help but wonder if other professions had their own images of Jesus performing those tasks.

Christ the Pharmacist with Adam and Eve

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