Ivanov – “The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene”

In 1835, the Russian artist A.A. Ivanov was in Italy, where he was sent at the expense of the art society. This organization was waiting for the grandiose canvas promised from Ivanov. But by that time the artist was not yet ripe for writing it. Therefore, having closely familiarized himself with the work of famous Italian painters, Ivanov began work on a “rehearsal” canvas before creating “The Appearance of Christ to the People.” He painted two figures on canvas: Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

I chose the plot that was widespread at that time among European masters. About him is narrated in the Gospel of John. The first to see the resurrected Teacher Magdalene and rushed to him. But Christ stops her with words and a gesture: “do not touch – I have not yet ascended to the Father …”. This very moment of the 20th chapter of Scripture is illustrated by Ivanov.

The composition of the picture is distinguished by spiritualized simplicity, the figures of the characters are sculptural, canonically beautiful, plastic. Christ and Magdalene are depicted frontally turned, for the convenience of contemplating facial expressions and conveying their emotional experiences.

The figure of Christ is painted in ideal proportions, the folds of the white robe are delicately worked out. Mary Magdalene is wearing a fiery red dress. By such opposition, the artist expressed the difference in the spheres in which the human being and the divine are. The white fabric on the body of Jesus glows, shimmers like pearls and mother-of-pearl, bluish-golden, it reminds of heavenly transcendental spheres.

Magdalene is shown down to earth, with one knee kneeling, stretching out her hand to her beloved Savior. Christ with a calm but strict gesture restrains the strong emotional impulse of the disciple. Ivanov managed to convey the love of Jesus and the mixture of the emotional experiences of Mary when meeting him: the pain of his death, the delight of his return and the hope of early happiness.

For the canvas, the painter was presented with the title of academician.

Year of painting: 1835.

Dimensions of the painting: 242 x 321 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: religious painting.

Style: academicism.

Gallery: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

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