The ResurrectionArtist(s)Marten van HeemskerckObject Creation Date1548-1574Medium & Supportetching on laid paperDimensions
8 3/8 in. x 5 9/16 in. ( 21.2 cm x 14.1 cm )Credit LineMuseum Purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of ArtLabel copy
March 28, 2009
During his residence in Rome in the 1530s, van Heemskerck assiduously studied and sketched the artistic glories of the Eternal City. From his trove of drawings he found inspiration for the many paintings and hundreds of prints that he produced over the rest of his long and successful career in the Dutch city of Haarlem.
In this particular etching of Christ rising dramatically from the grave the artist creatively drew upon the Laocoön, one of the most celebrated ancient sculptures displayed in Rome. The massive marble statue depicts an episode in Virgil’s Aeneid in which the priest Laocoön and his two sons struggle against enormous sea serpents sent by the gods to slay them. Van Heemskerck loosely translated the desperate figures of Laocoön’s sons into the bewildered soldiers guarding Christ’s tomb. For rendering Christ, the artist borrowed the priest’s body—contorted in agony—for Christ’s torso and cleverly converted the writhing snakes into a wind-blown burial shroud.Subject matter
This etching depicts Christ rising miraculously to life after his crucifixion. He steps off the lid of his tomb engulfed in an explosion of light, causing consternation among the six soldiers charged with guarding his body.
The print, made after a drawing by the artist dated 1548, reveals the influence of both ancient Hellenistic art and sixteenth-century Italian Mannerism upon van Heemskerck's work. The artist resided in Rome from 1532 until 1536 or 1537, where he studied the city's famous monuments and artworks and produced numerous drawings after them. From this trove of drawings he found inspiration for many of the paintings and hundreds of prints that he produced over the rest of his long and successful career in the Dutch city of Haarlem. In this work the artist creatively adapted the Laocoon, one of the most celebrated ancient sculptures displayed in Rome, for the poses of the figures.Physical Description
A muscular figure surrounded by an aureole of light steps down from a plain rectangular tomb. Six soldiers, depicted in a variety of complex postures, recoil from the figure in shock.Primary Object ClassificationPrintRights
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Mannerist (Greek vase painting style)
armor (protective wear)
etching (printing process)