The Child Jesus

Golden crown with pearls: for Ruth, Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba

Jesus' women ancestors

Annunciation

Birth of Christ

Shepherds & Angels

One of the Magi presents his gift to the child Jesus and his mother Mary

Wise Men/Magi

Flight to Egypt

Finding of Jesus in the Temple, William Hunt, detail

The Lost Boy


Jesus' Ministry 

Baptism

The Wedding at Cana

Jesus reads in the synagogue in Nazareth

Rejection at Nazareth

Gerasene Demoniac

Jairus' Daughter

Loaves & fishes

Transfiguration

The Good Samaritan

The Prodigal Son

The Rich Fool

Jesus' parable of the seeds

Parable of the Seeds


Trial & Death

Entry into Jerusalem

Cleansing the Temple

The kiss of Judas: a greeting and a betrayal

Betrayal by Judas

The Last Supper

The Garden of Olives

Annas and Jesus

Caiaphas: the Trial

Jesus looks at Peter after Peter has three times denied knowing him

Peter's Denial

Herod and Pontius Pilate

The Scourging of Jesus

Death Sentence

Way of the Cross

Crucifixion

Jesus on the cross

Jesus dies

Cross-section diagram of the sort of tomb in which Jesus was buried

Burial of Jesus


Resurrection

'He is risen!'

Resurrection

Mary Magdalene hears Jesus' voice and turns to look up at him

Magdalene at the Tomb

Peter and John

Doubting Thomas

Emmaus

Maps

 


 

 


 

 


Compare 4 accounts of the Resurrection in the gospels

 

Map of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' death and Resurrection

 

Tissot_resurr_3.JPG (74684 bytes)

Click on this thumbnail to see the artist James Tissot's remarkably accurate painting of the inside of the Tomb of Lazarus.

Then go to Archaeology for photos of 1st century AD tombs.

 

'Jesus' confrontation with the money changers, and with the Adulterous Woman, happened against the backdrop of a brand new building.'

Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' Resurrection

  

'Dried fish - that’s where Mary probably made her money, not in prostitution as the legends would have us believe - Mary the astute businesswoman is not nearly as interesting as Mary, repentant prostitute.'

Life of Mary Magdalene

 

 

 

Famous paintings of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; photograph of altar piece showing the Risen Christ

JESUS IS RISEN! 

Home                              Hidden Meanings                              Bible study: the Resurrection                            The Gospel story


 

Artists struggled to portray the Resurrection. How do you show something that nobody saw, or could imagine? Or angels, who were symbols of communication between God and people? Or Jesus, who was dead but was  now said to be living?

Simon Dewey, 'He Lives'

Simon Dewey, He Lives, painting

This sort of realistic painting, showing a triumphant Christ, is disparaged by the Art cognoscenti, but it is very popular, and in fact Simon Dewey is one of the most visible religious artists of the late 20th century. Its message is strong and direct: Christ is risen, he is the Saviour. The stone is rolled away, and darkness and death are behind him.


Bramantino, The Resurrected Christ, 1490

1490, Bramantino, The Resurrected Christ

Bramantino (circa 1465-1535) was a Lombard painter and architect whose real name was Bartolomeo Suardi. His works were noted for their fine architectural backgrounds - though there is little evidence of this in 'The Resurrected Christ'. If anything, it is the face, body and cloak that have an architectural quality, evidence of careful draughtsmanship. Bramantino was trying to capture the image of a perfect man - perfect in form, in intellect, and compassion. At the same time, his 'Resurrected Christ' is a man who has passed through death and is now detached, no longer part of the world that we, the living, inhabit.
  
The cloak that Jesus wraps around himself has an almost metallic sheen to it, mirroring the pallor of the skin. And yet you notice that the face itself has quite a different colour to it, as if there is more life in it than there is in the body. The skin is luminously pale, unearthly, even though it shows the marks of violence and the raised veins of a living body. The eyes are sad, looking through and past the viewer. They are the eyes of someone who is somewhere else. These eyes have seen things the living have not seen. They are disquieting.

 


Two disciples (Peter and John) at the tomb, Henry Ossawa Tanner

Two disciples at the tomb, Henry Ossawa Tanner


'The Resurrection', Carl Heinrich Bloch

Carl Heinrich Bloch, The Resurrection

Carl Bloch was a well-known and popular Danish artist in the 19th century. He painted a series of works on the Life of Christ, which are now housed in the Frederiksborg Palace, Denmark. His paintings would not please art aficionados today - the figures in them are too clean, calm and European. They do not express the gritty reality of Jesus' life, but rather an ideal. This does not cater to the 21st century's craving for historical reality. But the best of his pictures are quite beautiful, as this example shows.


Harbingers of the Resurrection, Nikolay Gay,  1867

Nikolay Gay, Harbingers of the Resurrection, Moscow

Gay/Ge was a brilliant thinker and painter who was, in his later paintings, out of step with his times. His first paintings were safe conventional scenes - 'Solomon's Judgement' for example is indistinguishable from hundreds of other religious paintings being done at the time. 

'What is Truth?' Christ and Pilate, Nicolay Ge/Gay,1890As Gay aged, however, he began to produce works that were savage, distraught and deeply offensive to many people. His 'Christ and Pilate' (1890) was banned as blasphemous, and his 'Crucifixion' was more harrowing and realistic than people wanted to see. 

'Harbingers of the Resurrection' is somewhere in between. Soldiers shrouded in darkness slink away from a discarded, broken cross; their purpose is done. The sky and the angel/Christ-figure both throb with life, but they fail to light up the faces of the soldiers or the dark fortress at the right of the picture. They are harbingers only, not the real thing - that is only just beginning.

 


The Risen Christ, Ambrogio de Stefano Borgognone, 1510

Painting of the Ressurected Christ, by Ambrogio de Stafano Borgognone. 1510.

Serenity. Acceptance. Calm. A delicate naturalism. And a certain sadness. These were the qualities that Borgognone presented in his painting of the Risen Christ. The God/Man he shows is no longer troubled by the cares of his turbulent life. He has passed beyond this, into his glory.

 


Fresco, Resurrection of Christ and the Women at the Tomb, Fra Angelico, 1440

1440 Fra Angelico Fresco Resurrection of Christ, and the Women a ttheTomb fresco, Convent of San Marco, Florence

Oh, to have been a Dominican monk living in the Convent of San Marco, Florence in the late 15th century. The walls of the dormitories and cells  were painted with wonderful scenes from the life of Christ, so the silence of monastic life was flooded instead with thoughts of Jesus Christ. This painting of the Resurrection of Christ, and the Women at the Tomb was painted during the artist's stay in the convent, 1436-46. 
The figures are arranged with simple formality, and yet it would be wrong to think there was a lack of sophistication: Fra Angelico is intent only on his subject, and he does not distract the viewer with unnecessary details. The grace and dignity of the women does not conceal their grief; they turn for some explanation to the figure of the angel who should, by its nature, be physically insubstantial but instead has a sort of reassuring solidity and authority. Dominic prays, head bowed and eyes lowered. 
The Risen Christ watches over them all.


He Qi, Easter Morning

He Qi, Easter Morning, painting

He Qi is one of the most popular modern painters of religious themes. Here a triumphant angel announces that Christ has risen, conquering the demons of darkness who now flee from him. The women have not yet woken properly, and seem unaware of what has happened. They still mourn, but the angel is telling them that the time for grief is over.  Instead of the unfurled military-style banner often held by Christ in earlier paintings, He Qi's angel carries a luminous lily, sign of purity and peace.

 


Resurrection, St Paul de Meythet Church, Arcabas, Jean-Marie Pirot, 1998

Arcabas (Jean-Marie Pirot), Resurrection

Modern religious art at its best - stylish, dramatic, relevant. Note the large scale of the painting - compare it with the altar furniture in front. This is a painting that demands attention, and deserves it. The Risen Jesus is being mobbed by angels, but his calm figure dominates them and the altar space. Arcabas' message is clear:  Christianity is about life, not death.


Christ Rising,  Frederick Hart,  bronze statue, 1998

Frederick Hart, Christ Rising, bronze statue

1998, Frederick Hart, bronze, Christ Rising

Hart has captured a sense of weightlessness for the body of Jesus - it seems to float in space, transcending its own humanity. The body is reminiscent of Donatello's 'David' - there is the same slim vulnerability in the figure, the same sense of grace. 

FrederickHartCrossoftheMillenium2000.jpg (47493 bytes)The position of the body, with arms outstretched, reminds the viewer of the Crucifixion, as if both events are inextricably connected, and one is simply a necessary extension of the other.

Click on this thumbnail to see an extraordinary photograph of a detail of Frederick Hart's 'Christ of the Millennium'

 


Peter Paul Rubens, (1) Christ Risen, (2) The Resurrection of Christ

Rubens, painting of The Resurrection of Christ

Rubens contributed more than any other Flemish master to the formation of the Baroque style of the seventeenth century. His works are vivid, dramatic and frankly sensual, glorying in the beauty of the human form. They are colourful, generous, voluptuous, expansive - all the qualities of the best Baroque art and music.

In both the two canvases above, the figure of Christ dominates the space. There is nothing ethereal and other-worldly here, but a male human body in all its beauty. A god, in fact, and a triumphant one at that.

Peter-Paul-Rubens-Lamentation-of-Christ.jpg (152158 bytes)Compare Christ's body in both these paintings with the sketch for 'The Lamentation', also painted by Rubens at about this time (click on image to enlarge). 

Rubens has obviously used the same model, which makes the contrast interesting. But he has also managed to capture the difference between a living and a dead body - the one charged with energy (as in the two paintings above) and the other so flaccid that the viewer can almost feel the cold damp flesh.

The vigor of the living body of Christ in the two paintings above is heightened by Rubens' masterly use of light and shadow. The dark areas in the paintings are uncannily empty, threatening, but Christ's body pulses with light. This clever contrast of light and dark were almost certainly inspired by Rubens' encounter in Italy with the works of Caravaggio. Rubens drew on what he had learnt there throughout the rest of his career.


Giovanni Bellini,  The Resurrection, 1475

1475, Giovanni Bellini, TheResurrection

The central focus of worship in a medieval Catholic church was the altar. Here the priest consecrated the bread and wine so that it became the Body and Blood of Christ. Immediately after the bread had been consecrated, he lifted it high, so that all the members of the congregation could see it.

Now imagine the drama of this scene played against the backdrop of Bellini's 'Resurrection', an altarpiece standing immediately behind the altar. As the priest raised the Host towards heaven, his action was echoed by the figure of Christ, rising heavenward from his tomb. The parallel could not have been more obvious. The image echoed what was happening in the Mass. 

This was reinforced by subtle parallels in the painting. The shape of the coffin of Jesus was similar to the altar's design; on the altar itself lay a white cloth not unlike the now-discarded shroud; and a dawn sky, with budding twigs on the trees, hinted at renewal in Nature. Even some cheeky rabbits, symbols of new life, gamboled at Jesus' feet. 


Resurrection panel from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Matthias Grünewald, 1510

1510, Matthias Grunewald, Resurrection

This image of the Resurrection is part of the Isenheim Altarpiece from the chapel of St Anthony's Monastery in Isenheim, Alsace. It formed a large backdrop behind the altar, with two sets of folding wings. The first view, with the folding panels closed, is of the Crucifixion. You can see detailed images of this harrowing masterpiece at Bible Archaeology: Crucifixion. The panel shows the twisted, bloody figure of Jesus on the cross, flanked on the left side by his mother Mary who is supported by the apostle John. Beside them, collapsed on the ground, is the pitiful figure of Mary Magdalene. On the right stands John the Baptist pointing to Jesus: this is the Messiah whom John foretold. At Jesus' tortured feet stands a lamb - symbol of the sacrificial Lamb of God who now hangs on the cross.

But when the wings of the altarpiece are opened, an altogether different sight greets the viewer, now dazzled by a blaze of golden light. Three panels have appeared, showing the Annunciation, the Concert of Angels, and the Resurrection. Unlike the outer ones, these inner panels are suffused with light. The drama of this light is especially obvious against the dark night sky in the background of the Resurrection scene. Grünewald's message? Christ brings light to the world.

Tellingly, the soldiers in Grünewald's painting are not asleep. They writhe away from the brilliance emanating from Jesus, as if it causes them physical pain. Their eyes are dazzled, and they themselves are overwhelmed. Their armour and elaborately quilted tunic offer no protection now. Above them, the serene and enigmatic Jesus hovers, weightless in his ethereal body. Only his punctured hands, extended towards the viewer, remind one of the torment he has so recently endured.


James J. Tissot, Angel seated on the stone of the tomb, watercolour, 1886
Held by the Brooklyn Museum, but not on view. A pity.

James Tissot, Angel seated on theStone of the Tomb, watercolor

The gloriously ethereal angel is standing (floating?) in the antechamber of the tomb. This angel is clothed in classical draperies, and has a double set of quite realistic wings. Behind the angel is a large flat shape which must be the stone, now rolled away from the entrance. Inside the tomb itself two (four wing tips on the far left of the picture) other angels sit, waiting on Jesus. Tissot did paint a picture of the Resurrection but it is not one of his best, and is not included here. 

 


'Resurrection', Veit  Stoss, 1477 - 1489

1477 Panel from the Altar screen by Veit Stoss, the Resurrection, carved in wood,  St Mary's Church Crocow

This wooden carving is one of the panels of the extraordinary altarpiece in  the Church of Our Lady, Cracow. Three magnificent panels of the Altar Screen at the Church of Our Lady The huge triptych (42' high by 36' wide) stands behind the main altar, and  was carved by the German sculptor and wood carver, Veit Stoss. The entire carving is shown at right. The Resurrection scene is in to top right corner.

In the carving, Jesus seems to leap nimbly from the tomb. The alteration in his bodily state is suggested by the unopened coffin lid, through which his body has passed. The soldiers are dressed in 15th century armour and clothing, and they carry lethal crossbows and clubs. Twelve years in the making, the altar dominated the Church of Our Lady. The two side panels could be closed, and may only have been opened for the celebration of Holy Mass.American soldiers carefully loading the Veit Stoss Altar, for return to Poland at the end of the Second World War.

(Right) During the German occupation of Poland in the Second World War, the Veit Stoss Altar was removed to Germany. The photograph shows American soldiers carefully loading the Altar, for return to Poland in 1946, after the end of the war.

 


The Resurrection fresco, Pinacoteca Comunale, Sansepolcro, Piero della Francesca, 1463

1463 Piero della Francesca, The Resurrection fresco, Pinacoteca Comunale, Sansepolcro

The soldiers in this painting are quite different to the ones Uccello presented (below) in his stained glass window. They are strong men bored with the task they must perform - very human, in fact. 
But the painting does show della Francesca's mastery of anatomy. The brown-torsoed figure is especially interesting, both for his wonderfully painted physique and the vacancy of his sleeping face - a face that only a mother could love.

The painting also shows della Francesca's innovative use of foreshortening - notice the realism of Jesus' left leg and foot as he hoists himself out of the tomb. This Christ-man ,the painter seems to say, is not an ethereal being who floats above us but a real, solid human being.
 The Risen Jesus has an uncompromising, determined expression. He looks the viewer squarely in the face. What is more, he raises a standard with his right hand, squaring his shoulders as if to lead his followers into battle.


Stained glass window in the Duomo, Florence by Paolo Uccello, 1443

A stained glass window by Paolo Uccello in the Duomo, Florence, showing the Risen Christ; Bible Art:Resurrection of Christ

Paolo Uccello was born in Florence in 1397, lived and painted there most of his life, and died there in 1475 - what you might call being in the right place at the right time. 
Mosaic in San Marco Cathedral, Venice, designed by Uccello He was famous for his interest in perspective, influencing many of his more famous successors. You can see a love of geometric form in many of his works, which have an almost Cubist feel about them.
The radiant figure of Christ in the Duomo's glass window transcends mortality, seeming to float above the open coffin. There are touches of strong green here and there - green being the sacred liturgical colour of new life. 

The sleeping soldiers on each side of the window are condittieri, hired foreign soldiers used extensively in the Italian wars of the period - in preference to the burgher troops who were unfitted for anything but defence. 
As time went on these condittieri gained more and more of the trade union spirit, seeing it was in their own interest to make fighting as bloodless as possible. Pitched battles between gorgeously arrayed forced would sometimes last for hours with hardly a casualty on either side, and they became notorious for breaking more lances than limbs. Uccello pokes gentle fun at soldiers by placing two of them, asleep, at the greatest event in Christian history.


Donatello, Bronze pulpit, with its three panels showing (left) Christ in Limbo, (center) 
the  Resurrection, and (right) the Ascension of Christ, 1465

1465, Donatello,  bronze pulpit showing Limbo, the Resurrection and the Ascension

Christ was believed to have descended into Limbo after his death. Only then would the waiting souls be allowed into Heaven. At their forefront is John the Baptist, reaching out to Jesus.

1465Donatellobronzepulpit.jpg (135763 bytes)This extraordinary piece of church furniture was produced right at the end of Donatello's life - it may well have been the last thing he did. There is some dispute, in fact, about whether it was his, or merely the work of his apprentices, but the centre section of the Resurrection is generally held to be his own work (click image to enlarge). 

Donatello liked to explore the psychological undercurrents of an event (see his tortured sculpture of the penitent Mary Magdalene at Mary Magdalene), and he does so here. 

In the central panel the figure of Jesus towers over the sleeping soldiers, dominating them as they dream unconscious of his power. He towers too above their discarded instruments of torture, and the scorpion-embossed shield that lies beside one of them - the scorpion of course being an emblem of Death - so soon to claim Donatello.

 


Unknown illustrator of the 'Breviary (Book of Prayers) of Martin of Aragon, Spain, 1400's

The reign of Martin, king of Aragon was a peaceful period in Spanish history, and this allowed the king to devote his energies to consolidating his kingdom from within. He assembled an impressive library, and one of the items in it was an imposing breviary which he had copied around 1398 in the Cistercian monastery of Poblet. 

The calendar's distinctive illustrations were modelled on the luxurious Books of Hours produced for the French court, notably  de Berry's 'Petites Heures'.


Resurrection, Hans Memling, 1490

1490, Hans Memling, three panels showing the Resurrection, the marytrdom of Sebastian, and the Ascension

The critics pour mild scorn on Memling because he was, they say, a copier of other artists' styles, and produced nothing unique. This seems to miss the point. Memling's portraits of the human face were superb - sensitive and subtle. But his main achievement was to suggest a spiritual world similar to our own, but somehow Other. 

The three panels in this painting show the Resurrection (central), the martyrdom of St Sebastian (left) and the Ascension (right). The Resurrection scene needs little explanation: the Risen Christ steps from the tomb while the soldiers sleep on, unaware of what has happened. The left panel shows St Sebastian stripped of his clothes and looking rather glum as he is shot through with arrows - he has been condemned to death by the emperor Diocletian because of his faith in Christ - a capital crime at the time. His execution was carried out by his fellow soldiers - no doubt as a warning to them not to copy his disloyalty to the Roman State. The right panel shows Mary, mother of Jesus and the disciples watching as the Risen Christ ascends into the sky, leaving them forever. As a small child I wondered if this meant the disciples could see up under Jesus' robes - a thought  I instantly regretted, lest I be plunged into hellfire for such disrespect. Do admit, however: the dangling feet of Jesus in the top right corner of Memling's painting seem a little odd.


The Resurrection, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1635

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Resurrection

Here in Rembrandt's painting Christ stands behind the angel, but he is no longer a recognisable human being. Instead pure light and energy radiate out of the darkness of the tomb,  a theological statement rather than a physical one. In the face of this light, the human beings in the painting tumble into a confused group. Rembrandt, perhaps the most famous Dutch painter of the 17th century and one of the greatest in all Europe, was using the same technique that Caravaggio used with such success: a strong light highlighting the darkness around it. 

The 1630's was a particularly prosperous time for Rembrandt. He married Saskia van Uylenburgh, the wealthy niece of an art dealer, and they had four children, only one of whom survived. His firstborn son was born and died in the year 'The Resurrection' was painted. The idea of Christ's conquest over Death may have seemed especially relevant to Rembrandt at this painful time, since he was deeply religious and a devoted family man. 


The Resurrection, a drawing by Pieter Bruegel  the Elder, undated, but may be circa 1560

Bruegel,Pieter the Elder,Drawing,The Resurrection of Christ

This drawing captures the earthiness of earth. The dark opening of the tomb/sepulchre seems about to crumble away, and one can almost smell the dank odour coming out its gaping mouth. The angel, defying gravity, hovers above the teetering stone that has, despite its size, been rolled quite a distance from the opening. At first sight there seems no sign of Christ, but closer examination shows him hovering above the angel, weightless in his resurrected body. The women, newly arrived on the scene, look up towards the angel, while the soldiers wake from their sleep and gather their wits as best they can. The drawing is full of human activity - there is a certain confused busyness about the foreground scene that sums up what it means to be alive and human.


The Resurrection,  El Greco, 1577

1577, El Greco,Toledo, The Resurrection

El Greco was the ideal painter for fervently Catholic Spain - and indeed for the famously enigmatic Spanish mind. His works are multi-layered, combining an almost Byzantine mysticism, which he soaked in from his native Crete, and the rich brooding colours of Venetian Mannerism. El Greco was able to express the essence of all great Spanish art:  subtle sensuality, sophistication, and unique emotional intensity. His resurrected Christ seems to emerge out of a stormy, threatening sky - though it must be admitted that stormy skies are common in many of El Greco's works.
The gold surround of this work is a poor choice, since it overwhelms the painting itself. But it is interesting that someone has (inadvertently?) chosen this model of a pagan Greek temple to surround an image of Christ's Resurrection. A hidden agenda?


Angels Rolling away the Stone from the Sepulchre, William Blake,  1805

Angels Rolling away the Stone from the Sepulchre, William Blake,  1805

We are inside the tomb with Jesus as life returns to his body. Two angels guard him while a third steps forward to open the door of the tomb. The stone has been rolled away and the viewer sees past the angel into the chilly outside world. It is in darkness, waiting for Christ's light.

This is an unusual view. Artists almost always present the Risen Christ from outside the tomb, either looking into the tomb or watching Christ as he emerges. You can see the interior of a real 1st century tomb at Bible Archaeology: Tombs


'The Resurrection',  Theodor Baier, 1920/1

1920, Theodor Baier, TheResurrection

Oh, dear.  Jesus looking vaguely like Prince Albert or some other respectable Victorian gentleman just out of his bath. I can't see the Roman authorities in Jerusalem being overly concerned about this fellow. And a pink shroud?


The Risen Christ,  Michel Ciry, Paris 1957

Michel Ciry, The Risen Christ

How far this is from the triumphant medieval paintings of the Resurrected Christ. What a dramatic contrast to the  Christ-figures of Rembrandt or della Francesca. The difference perfectly illustrates the changed image of Christ that exists in today's world. The twentieth century has seen a de-mythologizing of Christian beliefs. Jesus' humanity has been emphasized at the expense of his divinity - indeed people often find it difficult to understand what is meant by the 'divinity' of Christ. The idea of the 'historical Christ' has taken a firm hold of the modern mind, at the expense of Jesus as God.

21st century people find it almost impossible to deal with mythic or symbolic thinking. Modern faith in science and rational thinking means that everything has to be 'provable fact'. If it is not, it is given no credence. Hence a 20th century Risen Christ who looks very like Dan, the nice man in the Deli.


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Paintings by

Arcabas

Bellini

William Blake

Carl Bloch

Borgognone

Bramantino

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Michel Ciry

Simon Dewey

Donatello

Fra Angelico

Piero della Francesca

Nicolay Gay

El Greco

Grünewald

Frederick Hart

Hans Memling 

He Qi

Rembrandt

Rubens

Veit  Stoss

Henry Ossawa Tanner

James Tissot

Paolo Uccello

 

Hidden Meanings   in paintings of the Resurrection
  • The open tomb symbolises triumph over death; Christ's Resurrection is one of the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. Christ returned to life and remained here on earth until the Ascension. Since no-one actually saw his resurrection, Christians relied on the experiences of the disciples for confirmation that the event took place.

  • Christ is shown unclothed, since only the shroud covered him in the tomb.

  • The women disciples were first on the scene, so paintings often show the 'Noli me tangere' scene with Mary Magdalene, and the holy women at the sepulchre. 

  • Paintings from 14th and 15th century Italy often show an apparently weightless figure of Christ floating in the air, perhaps framed by rays of light which give the appearance of an Ascension. 

  • But the predominant type, originating in the later Middle Ages and followed by the Renaissance, shows the Saviour firmly on the ground, holding the banner of the Resurrection with its red cross, either standing upright in the open sarcophagus or in the act of stepping out of it. 

  • The Council of Trent, which demanded a return to scriptural accuracy, disapproved both of the open tomb and of the floating figure; from the second half of the 16th century therefore it is more usual to see Christ standing before a closed tomb.

  • Matthew, alone among the gospels, mentions the soldiers that Pilate put to guard the tomb. The passage seems to have been introduced by the evangelist to refute the charge made by Jews in his day that the disciples secretly removed the body. The soldiers are generally recumbent around the tomb, either in attitudes of sleep, or awake and shading their eyes from the dazzling light that surrounds Christ.

 

The Bible text - four Gospel accounts of the Resurrecton

Gospel of Matthew, chapter 28

  1. After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

  2. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

  3. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.

  4. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

  5. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

  6. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

  7. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

  8. So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

  9. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

  10. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

  11. While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.

  12. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money,

  13. telling them, "You are to say, `His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.'

  14. If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."

  15. So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Gospel of Mark, chapter 16

  1. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.

  2. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb

  3. and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

  4. But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

  5. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

  6. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

  7. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, `He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'"

  8. Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

  9. When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

  10. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.

  11. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

Gospel of Luke, chapter 23 & 24

  1. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

  1. On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

  2. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

  3. but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

  4. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

  5. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?

  6. He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

  7. The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'"

  8. Then they remembered his words.

  9. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.

  10. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

  11. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

  12. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Gospel of John, chapter 20

  1. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

  2. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

  3. So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.

  4. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

  5. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.

  6. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,

  7. as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.

  8. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

  9. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

  10. Then the disciples went back to their homes,

  11. but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb

  12. and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

  13. They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him."

  14. At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

  15. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

  16. Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

  17. Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

  18. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

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Bible Art: Paintings and Artworks from the New Testament - Bible Study Resource: Jesus and the Resurrection, Mary Magdalene, Easter morning

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