Happy Easter 2011!
Saint Pierre et Saint Jean courent au Sépulcre/Saint Peter and Saint John Run to the Tomb
by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902)
Watercolor and gouache on paperboard c.1886-94
Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
[John 20:1-9] On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
Le Saintes Femmes au Tombeau/The Holy Women at the Tomb
by William Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Oil on canvas, 1890
[Mark 16:1-7] When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'”
About the Painting:
This picture, showing the three faithful women at the tomb of their crucified Master, Bouguereau finished in 1890, and exhibited that year at the Salon des Champs-Elysees.
Never,” says M. Maurice Albert, “was the artist more serious, more desperately impeccable. Who, then, would give himself the useless pain of trying to find, I do not say a fault, but a hint of hesitation in the drawing, the composition, the modeling of the “Holy Women at the Tomb “? What surety of hand and what serenity of soul! What a simply severe arrangement of figures, and what majestic impassibility! And yet,” he goes on to say, “that high and mighty door of masonic architecture would scarcely represent the opening to the little vault of Joseph of Arimathea, that funeral chamber which imagination aided by the archaeological discoveries and the descriptions of M. Renan shows as low and dark, cut under a projecting: rock. Nor, in the three women artistically grouped, who are such well-trained models, and whose discreet tears do not disfigure their calm and gracious modern faces, can one recognize the Galilean women, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary Cleophas.”
Photo of the Day: The Nave at Easter 2008, as seen from the cry room. Click for full image.
Image courtesy of Allan Eckert.
Over on the Snopes.com Urban Legends Reference page, they discuss the unusually early date for this year’s Easter, and how we won’t see it earlier:
In the modern era, Easter Sunday generally falls on the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon (i.e., the first full moon of Spring in the northern hemisphere, or the first full moon occurring after the date of the vernal equinox)…
The earliest calendar date on which Easter can fall is March 22, and the latest date is April 25. Easter therefore takes place unusually early this year, as its 2008 date of occurrence is March 23. The last time Easter fell on so early a date was 1913, and the next time it will do so will be in the year 2160.
Seeing Easter fall on the earliest possible date, March 22, is an experience that has not been, and (barring some remarkable breakthroughs in longevity) will not be, witnessed by anyone alive today: It last occurred in the year 1818, and it will not happen again until 2285.
The odds are considerably better for witnessing a late Easter. Many people are still around from the last time Easter fell on April 25, an event which took place in 1943, and a good many people here today will likely still be around when Easter next falls on April 25, which will occur in 2038.