So last year I decided to do something different to celebrate Easter, that is by choosing art to represent and celebrate.
So the image I wanted to focus on today is The Elevation of the Cross by Reubens.
What is really interesting in this image is that it is a marriage between Northern and Southern styles. Now Rueben was a very big fan of Michelangelo, so if you look at his bodies you can see the similarities between the works. Both were deeply interested in the muscles and showing strength in the human form. Reubens also mimics Carvaggio in his use of the art form tenebrism and Leonardo’s chiaroscuro. The important bodies are highlighted to show that they are the focus, with the background in shadow in order to show darkness and add drama.
It utilizes the styles of the North as it is extremely detailed, you can see all the leaves and individual pieces of hair, etc. On the right side panel you can see the horses and how exact they are. It is also similar to how earlier paintings in the Renaissance used a triptych or three panels to tell the story. As for the South, it has the afore mentioned characteristics of Michelangelo, Carvaggio, and Leonardo.
“They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.”–Mark 15: 21-23
“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed…one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”–Luke 23: 32-34
“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” …Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he lovedstanding nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”–John 19: 19-27
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”–Luke 23: 39-43
“At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)… Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.”–Mark 15: 33-36
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”–John 19: 30
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open…When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”–Matthew 27:51-54
“So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body…Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”–Mark 15: 42-46
“The chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”–Matthew 27:62-66
To go to previous Easter posts click on The Betrayer’s Kiss