Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Two Marys at the Tomb

Title: The Two Marys at the Tomb

Artist: Bartolomeo Schedoni

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: tbd.

Date: 1613

Location: Galleria Nazionale, Parma.

Mark 16:6-8 "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Throughout Mark, people spread news that they were supposed to keep quiet; here, when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome are finally commanded to spread the word, they keep quiet. Again, the Gospel displays and ironic twist.

This memorable masterpiece, The Two Marys at the Tomb, gives us cause to regret the brevity of Bartolomeo Schedoni's tormented artistic life. It shows that he really would have been able to point Baroque painting in an original and intense direction. The way he blocked out gestures, used violent light and dazzling whites, combined with perfect clarity of detail to produce an almost metaphysical effect.

Bartolomeo Schedoni (1578-1615) was an Italian early Baroque painter and an eccentric exponent of the Emilian school. Schedoni went to Rome at the close of the sixteenth century, but he soon returned to Emilia and settled in Parma. It was there that he painted a small but fascinating group of masterpieces in a severe and noble style. At the same time his works were warmed by a light that softened fabrics and added delicacy to expressions. His untimely death (perhaps suicide owing to gambling debts) brought an abrupt end to the career of one of the most attractive painters of the seventeenth century.

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