Friday, October 19, 2012

TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST

UNKNOWN ICON PAINTER, Cretan
Transfiguration of Christ - c. 1550
Ikonen-Museum, Recklinghausen
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” – not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
(Luke 9:28-36 - NRSV)

The imagery and story of the Transfiguration are, to me, so very full of power; Each time I read the passage in the Gospels, I feel a quickening which is difficult to describe in words. What happens to me in moments of transcendence is so great a part of my faith, so confirming of my faith, and yet these episodes fall into the category of the ineffable. I wish I could paint the Transfiguration, and perhaps I would express myself better through the venue of the visual.

Image from the Web Gallery of Art.  Though the icon by the unknown artist is lovely, I wanted to use William Blake's version of the Transfiguration, but all the images I could find are under copyright.

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