Art Guide - April 2017

Resurrection, by Unknown Artist, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Vienna, Austria

This image of the Resurrection depicts the event known in the Orthodox tradition as the Anastasis. In common with other visual interpretations of this central moment in the Christian story, here the artist follows iconographic conventions which date back to the eighth century. Traditionally, Christ appears at the gate of hell in order to release all those righteous men and women of the Old Testament who have waited for God’s saving action. Christ who wears white robes, symbolic of his triumphant defeat of death and sin towers over those who await deliverance. Reaching out to grasp the hands of Adam and Eve, the first parents of humankind rush to meet Christ’s liberating action. Swirling draperies flutter around these figures as if to emphasise the drama of their release. The series of concentric circles enclosing Christ symbolise the divine energy of the ‘uncreated eternal Christ’ manifested at the Resurrection and earlier at the Transfiguration. Adam and Eve’s redemption is accomplished for they too now share in Christ’s risen glory. Their outstretched arms also penetrate the mandorla or circles of uncreated light. Adam and Eve’s actions visually signal humanity’s desire to seek union with Christ.

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