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Christ leading the female beloved to glory

CAT 62 Wagner from Song of Solomon for Sudermann 1620 BA 67.jpg

CAT 61. Hans Erhard Wagner. Christ leading the female beloved to glory in Daniel Sudermann, Schöne ausserlesene Figuren und hohe Lehren von der Begnadeten Liebhabenden Seele. Strasbourg: Jacob van der Heyden, c. 1620. Melville Memorial Room, Berkshire Athenaeum.

This is a graphic realization of the Christian consummation that was imminent in the double allusion to verses 2:4 and 2:10 in CAT 60. Now Christ Himself is holding the banner of love and the female beloved is following his invitation to “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Christ is now putting a seal upon her arm as the queen does to the king in CAT 57, each in the spirit of verse 8:16. Wagner makes her royal crown smaller and less conspicuous than in some of van der Heyden’s more secular images, but her hair falls as freely below her waist and her dress recalls that of the female beloved in CAT 53-57. In this case, however, her cascading hair is more demurely merged with the strong shadow cast along the right side of her body by the glow of eternal light that illuminates Christ’s head, banner, and body from the ultimate source. 

The thin, regular horizontal lines that delineate the sky stop to make a halo around Christ’s head; below the steep mountain of clouds upon which He and she are ascending, darker, deeper lines beat like a surf, making all the brighter the light of the sun illuminating the allegorical ascent of the Christian spirit. Sudermann’s text for this print addresses the power of God’s eternal sun to lead into holiness all children of God who believe. Job and Jacob are among the books Sudermann cites in the marginal citations that accompany his poem.