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The descent from the cross. The Central part of the triptych

Painting, 1614, 421×311 cm

Description of the artwork «The descent from the cross. The Central part of the triptych»

One of the most famous and recognizable paintings by Rubens "The descent from the cross" over the past few centuries have never questioned the artistic value or genius of the artist. It has been more than 400 years, adorns the Central Cathedral of Antwerp, for which it was written. Around it being completely different debate and believed it even Rubens in God?

Art historian Alfred Michiels (Alfred Michiels) in the nineteenth century was literally terrified of its own discoveries: "The scene of the descent from the cross is imbued with anti-Christian sentiments, and never far from religion the work has not adorned the walls of the Church... the Body of Christ does not resemble the body of a God, who should rise on the third day. Is the mortal remains of a man, which forever extinguished the flame of life. The sight of him did not leave the slightest hope. This body, already touched by the first signs of decomposition. Look at those faded blue eyelids, this rolled eyeball! Look at how lifeless his flesh! It's a real corpse... Nothing says here, that before us — God. Even relatives and disciples do not believe in the Divinity of its origin. They are absorbed one thing: to remove the mortal remains from the guns of shameful execution and transfer them to a safe place. In no other work of art didn't manifest such audacity skepticism, but rather unbelief!"

With such distrust of the modern art lovers in doubt, loved it even Rubens women, depicting their bodies such loose with all these infinite folds and dimples. It's hard to believe after centuries of drying the female ideal of beauty to the current limit, but not only Rubens himself, but the Flemings generally admired the beauty of these delicate, languid, lush, light-skinned telephone And Elena Forman, his wife and favorite model of Fleming, considered one of the most beautiful women of Antwerp (1, 2, 3).

In religious painting, as in many voluptuous Nude Rubens spoke to his contemporaries in a language that is understandable to this very minute, and the timeless and eternal at the same time. The Catholic Church in the era of the Counter-reformation laid upon artists a lot of hope – that they had to reach the hearts and minds with his genius, that they had to restore the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and to suppress the many Church reforms that had broken out and spread through Europe like wildfires in the midst of summer. And Rubens has chosen the right tone and the right images – not because they served the Church, but because they sincerely believed in what he was talking about. Peter Paul, a true Catholic, began the day with mass, Peter Paul, a true artist, twisted to the limit of emotional, intimate and personal component of the biblical legends, Christian history, and religious experience (1, 2, 3, 4).

In his "The Holy Trinity" only the angels and the radiance of light surrounding the Holy spirit allows us to see the plot point of the phenomenon of the Trinity. The grief of a father mourning his dead son, read and experienced here is stronger and more penetrating than the miracle of the divine essence.

In the "descent from the cross" Rubens gives physically the viewer to feel the weight of despair – through the physical, lifeless weight of the dead body. Foot of Christ hanging from the cross, placed on the shoulder of Mary Magdalene, one of the porters ate the shroud teeth, the other rests an elbow on the ladder to withstand heavy weight, and the third does not hold and begins to drop his terrible burden. When three days later the dead God resurrect these eight participants being removed from the cross will experience the most powerful spiritual upheaval – they are like no other will remember all my neponjatnostej doubt, the horror of death. They will be the faithful followers of Christ, and after them, and the viewer, emerging from the same fear.

The Rubens are very few peaceful and blessed paintings on religious subjects. Baroque, which is just excess that is all overkill, overkill and visibility, for it is here and artistic method, and way of thinking, and view of the world, and the spirit of the time.

Author: Anna SidelnikaVA
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1614

Size: 421×311 cm

Artwork in selections: 34 selections