Anastasis by Mary Elizabeth Podles

Column: A Thousand Words

Anastasis

Church of the Holy Redeemer in Chora
 by Mary Elizabeth Podles

To the delight of the skeptics, the Resurrection, the event that validates Christ's salvific sacrifice, had no human onlookers. Scripture gives no eyewitness account. Artists wishing to depict the Resurrection must either refer to it allusively, by depicting the three Marys at the tomb or Mary Magdalene's encounter in the garden, or fall back on their own imaginations. In the West, artists concentrated on the risen Christ's very corporeality, giving him a physical and compelling presence. Eastern Christianity, perhaps in response to theological issues difficult to resolve by argument, developed the image that we see here.

In the East, artists depicted the Resurrection in terms of its effect, the salvation of mankind from sin and the opening of the gates of Heaven. This fresco, a late (1315–1321) example of the image developed over the centuries, demonstrates all of its possibilities. Central to the image is Christ himself, set off by a starry mandorla radiant against the darkness behind him. This almond-shaped mandorla also surrounds Christ in Byzantine icons of the Transfiguration and the Ascension, and represents the uncreated light of the divine as it breaks through into the natural world.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Mary Elizabeth Podles is the retired curator of Renaissance and Baroque art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the author of A Thousand Words: Reflections on Art and Christianity (St. James Press, 2023). She and her husband Leon, a Touchstone senior editor, have six children and live in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on art from the online archives

33.2—March/April 2020

Christ Chapel at Hillsdale

An Architectural Sign of Mere Christianity by Michael Ward

32.4—July/August 2019

Sojourner Knight

on Single-Mindedness in Durer's Ritter, Tod, und Teufel by Anthony Costello

30.3—May/June 2017

St. Luke the Evangelist

by Mary Elizabeth Podles


more from the online archives

19.10—December 2006

Enchanting Children

Training Up a Child Requires a Well-Formed Imagination by David Mills

35.2—Mar/Apr 2022

Say Something

on Fatigued Christians Deciding to Engage the Culture by Keith Lowery

33.3—May/June 2020

Healing Medicine

on the Wisdom of the Good Doctor Edmund Pellegrino by Allen H. Roberts II

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00