Saturday, September 12, 2009

Descent into Hell

Title: Descent into Hell

Artist: Nicholas Roerich

Medium: Tempera on canvas

Size: 61 x 50 cm

Date: 1933

Location: State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow.

The Harrowing of Hell is a doctrine in Christian theology referenced in the Apostles' Creed, which states that Jesus "descended into Hell". For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was "raised from the dead" presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.”

Here, in the place of devils, Roerich uses deep sea angler fish, a recently discovered demonic denizen of the deep. This change adds further to the sensation hat Christ is descending into some alien world, familiar yet strange, as the color shifts between hot orange and cold blue tones. Roerich depicts Christ as he is most alone, before he has reached the souls who had passed before him and becomes their way to the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ’s descent into hell entails experiencing the fullness of alienation, sin and death, which he then absorbs, transfigures, and defeats through the Resurrection.

Nicholas Roerich, (October 9, 1874 - December 13, 1947) also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh (alternative transliteration), was a Russian painter, philosopher, scientist, writer, traveler, public figure. He created about 7000 paintings (many of them are exhibited in well-known museums of the world) and about 30 literary works. Roerich was an initiator of International Pact for protection of artistic and academic institutions and historical sites, and a founder of international movement for culture defense. Roerich earned several nominations for the Nobel Prize for his work to preserve cultural artifacts.

No comments:

Post a Comment