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The difference in the feeds

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

A contemplation of Wiedmann's depiction of the feeding of the 5000 (pictures 89-91 of the volume Jesus Christ)

by Daniel Rossa

If one compares Wiedmann's representation of the feeding of the 4000 with that of the feeding of the 5000, the biggest difference lies in the fact that at the feeding of the 5000 Jesus is not completely surrounded by people, but is above the crowd. The scene is shown on two sheets, Jesus himself is on the common central axis of the total picture surface.

The fact that the people are only in the lower part of the picture, i.e. occupy only one half of the picture, can be seen against the background that Jesus still sees himself as being sent to the Jews alone - and thus at most (quantitatively not even) half of them Mankind. Perhaps that is why with Wiedmann the other, upper half of the picture is left to the sky blue.

While the feed of the 4000 can be read as a cartographic top view because of the two diagonals that divide the screen into north, south, west and east, this is not possible with Wiedmann's representation of the feed of the 5000. It forms a landscape: in the foreground the shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee, on which the disciples on the left came by ship to this "lonely place" (cf. Mk 6,31f.) And which they also leave again by sea on the right ( cf.Mk 6,45-52), in the middle a promontory now heavily populated by the crowd, above Jesus standing in front of an abstract rock (a mountain is mentioned in the story of this incident by Joh, by the way, cf.Jn 6 , 3).

His legs and feet are hidden by the crowd. But his two palms (here there are only two! - also half of the four hands for the double effort in Wiedmann's feeding the 4000) minimalist "in profile" represented palms he holds as a request for the blessing over the food (here: two left Fish, on the right five loaves of bread - that was how the feeding began - and at the same time six baskets each with the “leftovers” of the food), which are on the left and right of him on two almost table-like pedestals. This gesture of blessing also fits that the section of the sky visible in this picture above the crowd shows two of the characteristic multi-framed triangles that symbolize the divine effect, and here, as it were, her blessing from heaven during Jesus' prayer precisely on the food on the two pedestals " trickle on ". Two people can be seen, detaching themselves from the crowd and holding out their hands to the food on the pedestals. If one takes the text of Joh. As a basis, then it could be about the two disciples named there Philip and Andrew, who appear in this passage (cf. Joh 6,5.7f.). The figure on the left could be Joh 6,9 but also deal with the child who makes his food available and in the case of the right figure with an exemplarily depicted disciple who ultimately distributes the food among the people (cf. Mk 6.41 par).

The most striking thing about this representation, compared to that of the feeding of the 4000, is that Wiedmann apparently saves half of the picture for the missing people from the other peoples, who only populate the picture when the 4000 is fed and that When feeding the 5000, the triangles are found in this image area left out by people, while they only come to rest on the crowd in Wiedmann's feeding of the 4000 - as it were, as an additional level over which / on the people are drawn: Only in the feeding of the In 4000 the levels of God's work and the crowd lie on top of each other - only there it becomes apparent that the kingdom of God is (already) taking place under and between them or is being realized. This interpretation is not at all possible for Wiedmann's representation of the feeding of the 5000.


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