Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene

Title: The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene

Artist: Alexander Ivanov

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: tdb.

Date: 1835

Location: The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

Most biblical scholars agree that the original writer of the Gospel of Mark did not write the verses that follow 16:8, and the question arises as to whether that verse was the original ending of the Gospel. That idea has always seemed to make readers uneasy, and in antiquity there were several attempts to graft an ending onto Mark (16:9-20). These spurious endings offer the reader a choice: did the writer mean for the Gospel to end at 16:8, or was there an original ending that was somehow lost? Some scholars have proposed that the Gospel of John, chapter 21, contains most of the elements that were originally found in Mark. There is also evidence that Luke knew the original Mark complete with the material found in John 21, as Luke 5:3-10 merged Mark's story of how Jesus met Peter with a tale of a miraculous catch of fish found in John.

Ivanov’s ‘The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene’ was warmly welcomed in St Petersburg and won him the title of Academician. The artist himself, however, was not entirely happy with the painting and it’s formal theatricality, reportedly referring to it as merely "corn-cob." Yet in his fascinating preparatory drawings for it, he conveyed the figures in a freer and more natural manner.

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (July 28, 1806 – July 15, 1858) was a Russian painter. His father, Andrey Ivanov, was an artist, the professor of the Academy of Arts, and it was his father who first taught Alexander art. Beginning around 1833, and throughout the next twenty years of his life, Ivanov consistently pondered over the theme of his masterpiece ‘The Appearance of Christ to the People’. This huge painting became, with time, synonymous with Ivanov's entire career. In 1858 Ivanov returned to St Petersburg and died two months later. His tremendous influence on Russian art can hardly be assessed in a few words. He undoubtedly ranks among the major Russian artists of the first half of the nineteenth century. His paintings, studies and drawings are a priceless part of the classical heritage.

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