DROPSY iconography

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The only example in iconography in Christian antiquity which in all probability refers to the episode in the gospel of the man suffering dropsy Lk 14:2-5 Et ecce homo quidam hydropicus erat ante illum sanavit eum ac dimisit is documented on the ivory diptych of Erevan, datable to the 6th c. Volbach-Hirmer, no. 142, pl. 75. The artistic representation of this NT account occupies one of the panels on the perimeter of the left panel of the diptych. The scene shows Christ, making the gesture of speech and carrying a cross with his right hand, and a man having a very swollen stomach which is exposed to view; this last detail is clearly the element characterizing the composition. Only in a much later period are other representations of this episode found: in the decoration in fresco in the church of S. Angelo in Formis 11th c. and in the mosaics in S. Marco in Venice 11th c., in which the image of Christ is accompanied by the explicit inscription hydropicum curat.


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