Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday



"O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

The Book of Common Prayer, p. 221

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Concerning the painting:

"In 1522 Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 - 1543) painted a disturbing picture: The body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb. The painting represents a corpse stretched out by itself on a slab covered with a cloth that is scarcely draped. Life size, the painted corpse is seen from the side, its head slightly turned toward the viewer; the hair spread out on the sheet. The right arm in full view, resting alongside the emaciated, tortured body, and the hand protrudes slightly from the slab. The rounded chest suggests a triangle within the very low, elongated rectangle of the recess that constitutes the painting's frame. The chest bears the bloody mark of a spear, and the hand shows the stigmata of the crucifixion, which stiffen the outstretched middle finger: Imprints of nails mark Christ's feet. The martyr's face bears the expression of a hopeless grief; the empty stare, the sharp-lined profile, the dull blue-green complexion are those of a man who is truly dead, of Christ forsaken by the Father ("My God, my God, why have you deserted me?") and without the promise of Resurrection."
Julia Kristeva, Holbein's Dead Christ.

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