Friday, April 07, 2023

Rogier Van der Weyden's Crucifixion With the Virgin and Saint John

In a cerebral exploration of Rogier Van der Weyden's painting "Crucifixion With the Virgin and Saint John," one can't help but be struck by the profound impact of the removal of gold leaf from the painting, revealing a stark, featureless black sky. The Philadelphia Museum of Art's decision to strip away the gilded layer unveils a deeper significance that transcends the religious symbolism and invites a more secular introspection.

The black sky, akin to an existential abyss, embodies the three days when our world was ostensibly bereft of divine presence, suspended between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This revelation of the painting's original state, much like the piercing wit of a well-timed aphorism, forces us to reconsider the true meaning of the artwork.

Though some may argue that the painting's religious context is inescapable, I beseech my fellow skeptics to glance beyond the ecclesiastical implications and appreciate the raw, human emotions that the painting evokes. It is a testament to the universal experience of feeling abandoned, lost, and yearning for salvation – whether that comes in the form of divine intervention or human resilience and ingenuity.

As we traverse this vale of tears, it would behoove us to pause and contemplate Van der Weyden's masterpiece, regardless of our spiritual inclinations or lack thereof. The painting serves as a stark reminder that, even in the darkest of times, there is always the promise of rebirth and renewal – the proverbial Easter and Resurrection of our own lives.



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