Bramantino, The Resurrected Christ, 1490
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.