Tag: resurrection

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@bethanymandel did a post on her friend’s new book called, ”Leaving Cloud 9”, By Erica Anderson. http://ricochet.com/532746/when-you-leave-cloud-9/ I ordered a copy and just finished it. The story is about Erica’s husband Rick, who grows up in a broken home, broken in every way. The trailer, the parent, the poverty, the terrible abuse, a story repeated in […]

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Piero della Francesca, Resurrection

 

Piero painted this Resurrection fresco framed by two columns, to encourage us to believe that we are looking out of a building upon the scene he means us to see. He wants us to think of the Gospel stories about Christ as real in an immediate way, actual for us when we come upon them. The illusion of the painter only makes sense if we want to take as seriously as possible the paradox of taking our understanding of reality from the Gospel stories. The question of what it means to be a witness for Christ is already implied here, as I will show below. Both by what we see in the picture and what the painter wants us to think about that’s not seen in the picture, we have to come to terms with our situation as human beings and its predicament.

Christ looks you in the eye, as well as me, and everyone else looking upon the fresco–he is looking down at all of us, after all, as he prepares to ascend. We are also looking more or less straight at the sleeping soldiers at Christ’s foot. The relative elevation of our point of view is meant fully honestly to remind us that we are no better than them, even though Christ is looking at us. We are not more exalted. There are two centers to this picture, one human, the other belonging to Christ. We’re somehow caught in-between them. The soldiers sleeping on the ground, in front of the tomb, are attired in the way of medieval folk, not Romans–this is, of course, because that’s who would be viewing this painting. People need to recognize their own in those soldiers to understand what they’re seeing. Yet the Christ shows us the cross, and one of the soldiers bears the shield with the SPQR, the Senatus Populusque Romanus, the manly self-assertion of the Roman republic, with its rulers and ruled put together. The two centers of the painting therefore are the two worlds, which we understand politically in terms of soldiers and the Christ. There is something to this suggestion–that we see the Christ when the soldiers are asleep.

Jesus is caught up in this problematic position of ours. Our world is therefore transforming, revealing life and death simultaneously, as though nature were being returned to chaos or wrapped up. The trees in the distance seem to be changing, or at any rate are different–on one side, they are green, but on the other they are barren. Jesus is still one foot in the grave. We are waking up to this realization, but not the soldiers. Jesus is alive–the wound between the ribs has started bleeding again, as though it were not healed completely. Blood is life. Jesus is trying to put on a garment, to hide nudity–the hand that clasps the garment shows the wound of the crucifixion; then we notice the other limbs are similarly marked. This is what we are supposed to see. The Christ was killed, that is the meaning of divinity, suffering more than any man could suffer. The sacrifice is complete, but it is also permanent. The Christ always carries the proof of divinity, to remind us that we are all embodied, all mortal.

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I’ll start this one with something from a year back & then some. Miss Berlinski posted a picture of a painting–Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection. She asked for some comments. I’ve just the kind of ambition required to yap the mouth on such occasions. Here’s me: Piero’s Resurrection–the fresco is framed by columns, suggesting one is looking […]

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