Picture in Focus: The Myrrhbearers by Sviatoslav Vladyka

April 8, 2018

Picture in Focus: The Myrrhbearers by Sviatoslav Vladyka

Christian is risen! He is risen, indeed! This traditional greeting can be heard this Sunday as Eastern Orthodox Christians around the globe celebrate Easter. The Gospel accounts of the Resurrection offer no real description of Christ rising from the dead. During the next two weeks, we will look at the differences in Eastern and Western imagery of the event with examples from the Sacred Art Pilgrim Collection. My first offering on Orthodox Easter is an icon by Ukrainian Greek Catholic Artist Sviatoslav Vladyka of an early theme in Resurrection art known as the Myrrhbearers, which is a favorite of Eastern-rite Christians.  It depicts the discovery of the empty tomb by the women who come to annoint the body of Christ on Easter morning (numbering three, as recounted in the Gospel of Mark) and their meeting with an angel who tells them Christ is risen.  In Vladyka's contemporary variation on this ancient theme, a golden morning sun seems to send its rays down the horizontal lines of the exposed wood grain sky to bath the divine-human encounter below in an ethereal whiteness, contrasting with the black void of the empty tomb. This new image of the Resurrection can be found on the New Iconography of Lviv page in the Schools of Sacred Art section. (John Kohan)