Benjamin Gerritsz. Cuyp
The Resurrection of Christ
Benjamin Gerritsz. Cuyp, Dutch, The Resurrection of Christ, ca. 1640, Oil on panel; 92.1 x 70.2 cm (36 1/4 x 27 5/8 inches), Georgianna Sayles Aldrich, and Mary B. Jackson Funds 62.019
Benjamin Gerritsz. Cuyp, a member of a family of Dordrecht painters, specialized in genre scenes and religious subjects. This scene portrays an episode from the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (28: 2-4) in which an angel arrives at Christ’s tomb and removes the stone from the sepulcher. Appearing in a burst of light, he pierces the darkness and blinds the Roman guards who scatter on all sides; groping and trampling each other in their attempt to escape, two have drawn their swords. Cuyp’s sketchy impasto enhances the frenetic atmosphere. Christ is present only symbolically, through the artist’s emotional, poetic depiction of divine light. Like many painters in the Dutch Republic, Cuyp focused on the lowly aspects of the narrative, implying that ordinary humans have a role in the history of salvation. This focus, the dramatic lighting, and the heavy impasto all owe much to the artist Rembrandt van Rijn, whose composition on the same theme was a likely inspiration.