Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Day

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Della Francesca’s ‘Resurrection’

The Resurrection
Piero della Francesca c.1463
Sansepolchro, Tuscany


I originally posted this piece in 2011 and have decided to do so again this year, with some adaptation and additions.

The depiction of Our Lord is one of the most powerful ever created and impresses itself deep into one's consciousness. It is one of the few which have attempted to capture the moment of Resurrection, although carving from the same periood in alabaster from English workshops are well known as are smaller manuscript and embroidered depictions. Aldous Huxley described Piero's work  in an essay in 1925 as "the greatest painting in the world." For Huxley here was the face of someone who had indeed conquered Death and Hell.

There are online articles about Piero della Francesca's The Resurrection here and here. There are also more recent posts by Christopher Booker: The mathematical revolution behind 'the greatest picture in the world' and by Christine Zappella:Piero della Francesca, Resurrection

These articles refer to its near destruction in the Second World War, and there is more about the man who ensured its survival, Tony Clarke, in The man who saved The Resurrection

"Does not a ray of light issue from Jesus, growing brighter accross the centuries, that could not come from any mere man and through which the light of God truly shines into the world? Could the apostolic preaching have found faith and built up a worldwide community unless the power of truth had been at work within it?

If we attend to the witnesses with listening hearts and open ourselves to the signs by which the Lord again and again authenticates both them and himself, then we know that he is truly risen. He is alive. Let us entrust ourselves to him, knowing that we are on the right path. With Thomas let us place our hands into Jesus' pierced side and confess: "My Lord and my God!" "

Pope Benedict XVI
Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week

From pp.276-77

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