Artwork of the Week: Easter 2021

 In MOA Artwork of the Week

Carl Heinrich Bloch "The Resurrection"

Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834 – 1890), The Resurrection, 1881, etching, 6 3/16 x 4 15/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by J. Robert and Lisa Wheatley, 2001.

Happy Easter to Western Christians! Send Resurrection joy to your Orthodox friends on Sunday, May 2.

You’ll quickly notice that Carl Bloch’s The Resurrection (above) is a reversed image of the massive, richly colored altarpiece painting of the same composition (featured below). Late in life, Carl Bloch became a masterful printmaker, reproducing for the masses many of his painted works. The MOA is a repository for a large collection of Bloch printworks.

Both works depict Christ’s triumphant emergence from the tomb, the door of which is now shattered at his feet. If you study the jagged breaks (it’s easier to see in the painting) you’ll be able to mentally reassemble the broken door.

You should also be able to decode another clue to Bloch’s visual language: a change occurs at the height of Jesus’ knees. Below is nearly colorless, while the upper two thirds of the picture exudes warmth and exultation. Carl Bloch chose to align the emergence of the Father’s Only Begotten Son from the tomb with the dawn breaking simultaneously over the horizon. Note how gray the angel wings appear below, and how rosy the Savior’s robes appear. The rising sun reveals the risen Son.

Bloch Resu

Carl Bloch, “The Resurrection,” 1887, oil on canvas, 148-3/8 x 117-3/8 inches. Sankt Jakobs Kirke, Copenhagen, Denmark, Photograph courtesy of Hans Nyberg.

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