Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Morning of the Resurrection

Title: The Morning of the Resurrection
Artist: Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Medium: Oil on wood
Size: 84.5 x 151.1 cm
Date: 1886
Location: Tate Britain, London.

John 20:11-14 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She said, “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

Burrne-Jones began this painting in 1882, but did not complete it until four years later, when it was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery. After the death of the Hon. Laura Lyttleton (nee Tennant), a young friend of whom the artist was particularly fond, Burne-Jones inscribed a personal memorial or 'oblation' in the lower left-hand corner. He made at least two other versions of the subject. The painting falls at the end of Burne-Jones' Mantegnesque phase, and the regular horizontals and verticals and color strengthen the sad mood. According to de Lisle the angels are making the ancient sign of adoration, of covering the mouth.

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet (August 1833 – June 1898) was an English artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company. Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in England. On 16 June 1933, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, a nephew of Burne-Jones, officially opened a centenary exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London. But in fact, long before 1933, Burne-Jones was hopelessly out-of-fashion in the art world, much of which soon preferred the major trends in Modern art, and the exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of his birth was a sad affair, poorly attended. It was not until the mid-1970s that his work began to be re-assessed and once again acclaimed. A major exhibit in 1989 at the Barbican Art Gallery, London traced Burne-Jones's influence on the next generation of artists, and another at Tate Britain in 1997 explored the links between British Aestheticism and Symbolism.

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