(4th quarter 17th century)

The Resurrection of Christ

Tempera on linen and wood, 24 x 18 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

The central idea of this image, whose eastern Christian iconography can be traced back to the high middle ages, consists in the representation of the Savior's triumph over death and over the evil forces of Satan, as celebrated in the Easter troparion of the Byzantine liturgy: "Christ is risen from the dead, by his death he has vanquished death, and to those who were in their tombs he has given life."

The present icon represents, at the centre, Christ in glory, resplendent in a burst of golden light. He is placed within an azure mandorla, graduated in tone and hatched with golden rays. Treading upon the gates of hell, which have been thrown off their hinges and flung to the ground, Christ is flanked by two groups of personages: they are the Just of the Old Covenant, prominent among whom are the figures of King David (with the crown), Moses, and Saint John the Baptist. In the persons of Adam and Eve, rising from their tombs in the form of sarcophagi, the whole of humanity is here being won and redeemed.

Based on its characteristics this icon may be related to the Byzantine school of Veliko Tarnova of the late seventeenth century.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.