Maurice Denis. Holy Women Near the Tomb/Saintes Femmes au tombeau. 1894
This picture depicts the events of Luke 20 v11-18 on the morning of the resurrection when the women found the tomb empty. In the painting, the figure who spoke to the women about Jesus, is painted in the background. He is also painted in warm colours as if bathed in light. The women are painted in somber blues and greys. I love the contrasts of light quality in this picture, which for me symbolize the difference in mood that the women must have experienced when they were told that Jesus was risen. It is as if the artist has captured a moment in time when extreme sadness turns to hope. The group of women are split into two groups. On the left the two women who are bare headed appear to be waving to the golden figure. Their uncovered heads suggest that they are open to his message and are immediately affected by it. The other women on the right do not yet seem to have noticed him and remain shrouded, perhaps in gloom.
For me the whole painting is an example of how we can respond to the good news of Jesus resurrection and symbolizes the joy and light which his presence in the life of the individual can bring; if we only believe.
“This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness ... In him we find everything. Outside of him our life is empty.”
(J. Escriva, Christ is passing by).
In Conversation With God Vol 2: Lent and Eastertide