Posted by: mattcolvin | April 23, 2011

Isenheim Altarpiece for Easter

Χριστός ἀνέστη! (Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!)


Matthias Grunewald’s magnificent painting of the Resurrection has always struck me as the appropriate poetic license for handling the center of our faith: Christ does not sneak out of the tomb. No, the new creation is inaugurated with a blast worthy of Los Alamos, signaling that the world would never be the same. The lid of His (rather inaccurate) stone coffin has been knocked aside, and somehow I don’t think He had to strain any muscles to make that happen. Already Caesar’s guards pitch headlong at His feet, presumably stunned by the shock wave. Their swords and halberds are powerless against the New Man. Christ’s garments, glowing with the power of His new life, swirl in the wind of His speed as He displays his palms to let Satan know that He has lost.

In Grunewald’s vision, death is not only “swallowed up in victory”, but blown away.


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