Sunday, April 20, 2014
Spencer's Ressurrection paintings focused on the life after death of Everyman, the result of Christ's resurrection for all of mankind. Spencer depicted graves opening in Cookham churchyards & other local settings with friends & neighbors & relatives arising to the sound of the Last Trumpet. Spencer was not religious in the conventional sense & believed that organized “religion is a gloomy wretched thing, a depressing atmosphere.” Spencer’s spiritual world was dominated by the “Holy Spirit.” He had a vision of humanity bound together by “the imaginative powers which we all possess” in universal brotherly love.
Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - The Hill of Zion 1946
Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were afraid. And he saith unto them, Be not afraid: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is arisen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. Mark Chapter 16
Benjamin West (American artist, 1738-1820). Detail Angel of the Lord Announcing the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to the 3 Marys at the Sepulchre, 1805.
I love the fierce turn that West took with this painting. Life everlasting & unconditional love & total forgiveness were powerful concepts - nothing to be trifled with. West had grown a lot, since he left Pennsylvania for England.
In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were the core of early Western art.