The Christian doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus refers to the idea that God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion, thereby initiating or restoring Jesus’ exalted life as Christ and Lord. This doctrine is central to the Christian faith.
The writings found in the New Testament state that Jesus was the firstborn to arise from the grave, so bringing about the establishment of God’s kingdom.
After making an appearance to his disciples and exhorting the apostles to fulfill the Great Commission by forgiving sins and baptizing people who repent, he ascended to heaven.
Paul and the other authors of the Gospels describe the bodily resurrection as the return to life of a transformed body that was powered by spirit. This event, which led to the establishment of Christianity, is considered to be the origin of the Christian tradition.
According to Christian theology, the resurrection of Jesus is “the basic mystery of the Christian religion.” Christians believe that he rose from the dead on the third day.
It is the cornerstone of that faith, and it, together with the life, death, and teachings of Jesus, is honored by the Christian holiday of Easter.
Below are some of the most famous paintings about the resurrection that have ever been produced.
Famous Resurrection Paintings
1. Resurrection of Christ – Raphael
The Resurrection of Christ (1499–1502) is an oil painting on wood that was created by the Italian High Renaissance master Raphael.
The painting is often referred to as The Kinnaird Resurrection (after a former owner of the painting, Lord Kinnaird).
The picture was created between the years 1499 and 1502 and is considered to be one of the artist’s first known works.
Although it has been suggested that the painting could be one of the remaining works of the Baronci altarpiece, which was Raphael’s first recorded commission, it is most likely a piece of an unknown predella.
However, it has also been suggested that the painting could be one of the remaining works of Raphael (seriously damaged by an earthquake in 1789, fragments of which are today found in museums across Europe).
The picture can be seen at the Sao Paulo Museum of Art at the present time.
2. The Resurrection – Piero della Francesca
The Resurrection, a fresco by Italian Renaissance master Piero della Francesca, was produced in the 1460s for the Palazzo della Residenza in the town of Sansepolcro, Tuscany, Italy.
The Conservatori, or leading magistrates and governors, prayed before the artwork before beginning their meetings at the Gothic-style Residenza, where Piero was commissioned to paint the fresco.
Also Read: Famous Easter Paintings
The picture, which is prominently exhibited on the inner wall opposite the entry, relates to the origin of the city’s name (which means “Holy Sepulchre”): the presence, in the 9th century, of two relics of the Holy Sepulchre conveyed by two pilgrims.
The town’s coat of arms displays Christ as depicted by Piero.
3. The Resurrection of Christ – Peter Paul Rubens
The Resurrection of Christ is a triptych painting that was completed by Peter Paul Rubens between the years 1611 and 1612 and is currently housed in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp.
The most important scene is depicted in the middle panel, and it shows Jesus triumphantly coming from the tomb while being surrounded by terrified Roman troops.
The image on the panel on the left depicts John the Baptist, and the image on the panel on the right depicts Martina of Rome.
These holy figures served as inspiration for the triptych that was commissioned by Martina Plantin, the widow of the printer Jan Moretus of the Plantin Press. Their respective patron saints and namesakes are also honored by the press.
4. The Flagellation of Christ – Caravaggio
The picture “The Flagellation of Christ” was created by the Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio, and it is currently housed in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples.
It is dated to the year 1607, and it is possible that the artist revised it in the year 1610. It should not be confused with Christ at the Column, which is another example of Caravaggio’s Flagellation from the same time period.
The di Franco (or de Franchis) family of Naples commissioned this piece of art to be placed in a chapel of the San Domenico Maggiore church in the city of Naples.
Caravaggio had already painted The Seven Works of Mercy for the church that was part of the Confraternity of the Pio Monte della Misericordia, which the family had ties to. In 1972, it was relocated to the museum that is located in Capodimonte.
Caravaggio became the most talked about artist in Naples almost immediately after he finished his series of highly dramatic and innovative Neapolitan altarpieces, which included the Seven Works of Mercy, this Flagellation, and a close companion piece titled Christ at the Column.
All of these works were completed within a few months of Caravaggio’s arrival in the city.
5. Resurrection – El Greco
El Greco’s Resurrection is said to have been painted for the Colegio de Doña Maria in Madrid, Spain.
It is believed to be one of only two painting attributed to El Greco on the subject of the resurrection.
It is painted in his dramatic mannerist style that was somewhat unique to him at the time. It is unashamedly an El Greco work from the elongated bodies and canvas to the brightly colored palette used.
6. Resurrection – Andrea Mantegna
A tempera on panel painting titled “Resurrection” was created by Andrea Mantegna between the years 1457 and 1459. It is currently housed in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours.
It was originally a section of the predella of the San Zeno Altarpiece, which was commissioned in 1457, similar to Agony in the Garden (also found in Tours) and Crucifixion (located in the Louvre). In the year 1459, it was manufactured in Padua and then shipped to Verona.
Also Read: Crucifixion Paintings
In the year 1797, the French occupying authorities took possession of the altarpiece and transported it to the “Museo Napoleone” in Paris. This museum was essentially an expanded version of the Louvre.
After Napoleon’s decisive defeat in 1815, the three main panels, as well as the cornice, were returned, but France kept the predella in their possession. Under the major panels, there is now a modern reproduction of the predella that can be seen.
7. The Resurrection of Christ – Tintoretto
Tintoretto painted five different versions of the resurrection all of which are in the mannerism style.
Tintoretto’s depictions of the Resurrection of Christ are among the most spectacular of any of the artists who have ever worked in the medium.
Christ is shown breaking out of his tomb and being carried aloft in a blaze of light in the most famous picture of the topic that may be found at the Scuola di San Rocco in the artist’s hometown of Venice.
8. The Raising of Lazarus – Caravaggio
Another of Caravaggio’s paintings, titled “The Raising of Lazarus,” which was completed around 1609 and may be found in the Museo Regionale in Messina (1571–1610).
Caravaggio was commissioned by Giovanni Battista de’ Lazzari, the patron saint of Giovanni Battista de’ Lazzari, to paint an altarpiece for the church of the Padri Crociferi. Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was the subject of the painting.
The Gospel of John details how he became ill, passed away, was laid to rest, and was afterwards raised from the dead by Christ through a miraculous act.
As is the case in a number of paintings that Caravaggio produced during this time in his career, the backdrop of the scene is composed of blank walls that dwarf the frieze of human performers.
The interaction of the relief of figures caught in corporate effort and emotion, with a wide space above, is considerably different from the intensely focused individual dramas of his early and middle years.
This is because the relief features figures caught in corporate effort and emotion. Light, as is typical for Caravaggio, forms a significant component of the drama in this painting.
9. The Resurrection of Christ – Peter Paul Rubens
The Resurrection of Christ, The Easter Tomb or The Triumph of Christ over Death and Sin is a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, executed c. 1616.
A dramatic piece where Christ consumes the majority of the canvas, is very different from the Antwerp version listed above.
It entered the collection of Ferdinando de’ Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany between 1713 and 1723 and is now in the Galleria Palatina of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
10. The Raising of Lazarus – Rembrandt
An oil-on-panel painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt from the beginning of his career; it was probably created between the years 1630 and 1632. The subject of the painting is the biblical story of Lazarus.
The story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead is found in the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John.
The influence of Rembrandt’s mentor Pieter Lastman may be seen in his early work, including The Raising of Lazarus, which the artist created while he was still in Leiden and not long after finishing his apprenticeship with Lastman.
One of Rembrandt’s etchings depicting the same subject but with a different composition was done around the year 1632, and the other was made around the year 1642.
The etching from 1632 depicts a different perspective, whereas the etching from 1642 depicts different people moving around in the cave.
Rembrandt was the owner of Raising of Lazarus for the majority of his life; nonetheless, the painting was sold during his bankruptcy sale in 1656.
It was recorded in the inventory as being affixed to the wall in Rembrandt’s foyer. The picture was owned by a number of different people in Europe before being acquired by Howard F. Ahmanson, Sr. in 1959. Subsequently, he gave the painting to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.