Showing posts with label Christ in the tomb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christ in the tomb. Show all posts

Saturday, March 30, 2013


HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Image from the Web Gallery of Art. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012


The Body of the  Dead Christ in the Tomb - Hans Holbein the Younger
Cold In The Tomb

Jesus is dead, stone cold in the tomb.
The Lord of Life breathes no more.
The Marys weep, the mother, the friend,
Bereft, bereaved, their dearest gone away.

The Lamb of God, abandoned by God,
To ignominious death high on a tree
Of shame.  And us?  Left to weep
With the grieving Marys.  Oh, God!

Night approaches; strength fails.
Heal our broken hearts; revive our
Weary bodies; renew again our
Wondrous hopes and dreams.

June Butler  4-7-12

Saturday, April 3, 2010



HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger - "The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb" - Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basle

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:12-16

Not a pretty picture, is it? Click on the painting for the enlargedment. The painting shocked me upon first view, but it seems a realistic portrayal of a decaying body.

Note on the painting from the Web Gallery of Art:

Portraits apart, this is perhaps Holbein's most striking image. Since Dostoevsky's observations in the nineteenth century, which dwelt on the forbidding aspects of physical decay and bodily corruption, the painting has been seen as the product of a mind steeped in the apocalyptic horrors that were unleashed by the first phase of the Reformation. But what is known of Holbein's phlegmatic interpretation of the human condition belies this interpretation. Modern authorities suggest that Holbein intended to stress the sheer miracle of Resurrection and its imminence, since the minutely-observed level of decay in the gangrenous wounds suggests that we see Christ's body three days after death.

An inscription in brush on paper, 'IESUS NAZARENUS REX IUDAEORUM', borne above the painting by angels holding the instruments of the Passion, precludes its use as a predella panel (at the base of an altarpiece), as does our viewpoint of the body. Instead, a role as an object of contemplation, a reminder of Christ's sufferings and mortification and his subsequent triumph, is suggested. Such practices flourished from the late middle ages and account in part for the many representations of the dead Christ from Lombardy (the Bellinis in Venice also produced several). Mantegna's famous version grapples with artistic as well as religious problems in its dramatic foreshortening, which are not fully resolved. By contrast, Holbein's draughtsmanship appears masterly.

An unverified tradition asserts that a drowned body fished out of the Rhine served the painter as a model for the figure of Christ lying in the tomb. Even if it is not true, the legend is a telling testament to the terrifying realism of Holbein's depiction of a corpse in a state of rigor mortis.