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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Able to surp-rise


And once again, Tintoretto with his surprises. Since in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church the time of Easter continues until Pentecost (June 9, this year), it is still worth spending some words on Tintoretto's Resurrection of Christ inside the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, the former headquarters of the St. Roch Major Brotherhood in Venice. According to Matthew 28.2 (ISV), "Suddenly, there was a powerful earthquake, because an angel of the Lord had come down from heaven, approached the stone, rolled it away. . ."

Here, for a starter, the angels make a team of four; that may remind us of such apocalyptic texts as Matthew 24.31 and Revelation 7.1. But what's much more, much more than this, if we carefully look at their movements, they are NOT rolling away the stone. They are trying to lock it into position, and shut Christ inside before it is too late!

But, it is too late. Preachers love to say that the resurrection of Christ was a shocking event, and the artists often conveyed this by showing the soldiers, when not sleeping, frightened by the sudden flash of light from the sepulcher. Apparently, according to that devout but 'bad boy' called Tintoretto, the event surpassed even the angels' comprehension and projects. Interpreting Ephesians 1.20-21 in the strongest way possible; maybe with an echo of Dante, Inferno 8.124-6.

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