Iconography and Semiology: Representations of the Crucifixion

  • Georges Mounin
Part of the Topics in Contemporary Semiotics book series (TICSE, volume 158)


In order to use semiological procedures correctly in iconography it will perhaps first be necessary to take into account several preliminary observations. We will refer at length here to three articles by Professor Jacques Bréhant, the well-known thanatologist, in order both to show their validity and to suggest some properly semiological reflections in the field of iconography. These articles were published in La Presse Médicale (No. 19, April 17, 1965; No. 20, April 21, 1965; and No. 55, December 2, 1965) under the title “Medical and Historical Commentaries on the Crucifixion of Christ—Its Interpretation in Art.”1 We will have to remain entirely dependent here on Professor Bréhant’s documentation, which includes his archaeological and historical as well as his more specifically iconographic data, and which by 1965 was the product of at least twenty years of research (p. 3235). Professor Bréhant’s work is an example of interdisciplinary research conducted by a single scholar—a project of a kind not uncommon in our medical tradition. And even if some of the data should need to be reconsidered, this would not greatly affect the type of reflections and conclusions which this work suggests to the semiologist.


Textual Source Socialize Learning Process Narrative Unit Crucify Figure Primary Articulation 
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  1. 2.
    J. Bertin, 1967, Semiologie graphique ,La Haye: Mouton).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georges Mounin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ProvenceAix-MarseillesFrance

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