A small painting in egg tempera depicting dawn on the third day, and marking the biblical transition from the Harrowing of Hell to the Resurrection.

Anastasis Icon

It is the breaking of dawn on the third day, the fascinating transitional period immediately following Christ’s descent into Hell described in the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus, and the moment of the Resurrection (Gk. Anastasis).

A blackbird (Turdus Merula) sings in a garden outside the city walls and stands on the broken tomb. The bird is honoured as the first witness and its herald. The moonlit palm leaves and shadow on the gardener’s hoe and shovel are a reminder of recent events in Jerusalem. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James hurry from the holy city; in their haste and unknowing – they are oblivious to the Angel.

This icon written in the style of the Stroganov school. Egg tempera and gold leaf on a birch board, 14.5×18.5cm

For M.H