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Jesus Christ triumphant is represented under the tomb carved out of the rock. The indifference of two soldiers, still asleep, contrasts with the attitude of surprise exhibited by the one on the left. In the background landscape, and linked to the scene in the foreground, is the symbolic light of dawn.
In the organisation of the figures and in the use that is made of the accidents in the terrain to define the various grounds of the painting, this panel is no different from the others in this same series. The swollen rocky volumes, painted in a wide range of brown colours, are used to suggest a certain depth to the space.
The perceptible difficulties in the conception of the figure of Christ, partly hidden by the cloak, are in fact related to the position of the panel in the overall structure of the altarpiece: precisely because it was placed on the third and uppermost row, the painter sought, by increasing the height of the upper part of the body, to compensate for the distortions resulting from the observer’s angle of vision. On the other hand, the theme in question calls for a suggestion of an ascending movement on the part of the figure, which is why the painter invested in the theatricality of the gestures and raised one end of the cloak into a pointed tip. The turbulent appearance of the folds, together with a certain consistency in the type of faces depicted, is one of the aspects that helps to standardise the different panels of this collectively painted work.
The repainting work that is clearly visible in the upper part of the altarpiece resulted from the attempts made (already at a date subsequent to the paintings’ removal from their original positions in the 17th century) to hide the support that would originally have been concealed by the structure of the altarpiece itself.

Details

  • Title: Resurrection
  • Creator: Vasco Fernandes, Francisco Henriques
  • Date Created: 1501-1506
  • Physical Location: Grâo Vasco Nacional Museum, Viseu, Portugal
  • Location Created: Panel of the former altarpiece of the chancel of Viseu Cathedral
  • Physical Dimensions: 132 cm x 82 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on oak wood

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