Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday - Mary Magdalene at the Tomb

Title: Mary Magdalene at the Tomb
Artist: Antiveduto Gramatica
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 120 x 157 cm
Date: 1620-22
Location: The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

John 20:11-13 - 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.”

Such heavenly messengers appear at many of the significant points in salvation history. Their presence witnesses that the powers of heaven have been at work here. Often in Scripture the person who encounters an angel is struck with terror. But if Mary felt such a reaction, John does not mention it. Indeed, there is no indication that she even recognizes them as angels, presumably due to the depth of her grief. The angels speak to her with great compassion. In the face of this grief the angels do not bombard her with good news but rather ask the question that can lead to the healing word.

Antiveduto Gramatica (c. 1571 – April 1626), was a was a proto-Baroque Italian painter, active near Rome. He was born in either Siena or Rome, and according to Giovanni Baglione the artist was given the name Antiveduto ("foreseen") because his father had a premonition that he would be soon be born during a journey between his native Siena and Rome. It was in Rome that Antiveduto was baptised, raised and based his career.

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