Lines and Colors art blog

Tiziano Vecellio (Titian): Polyptych of the Resurrection

It’s as fascinating to compare artists’ interpretation of the resurrection of Christ as those of the crucifiction; though, as I pointed out in my post on Rogier ven der Wyden’s Miraflores Altarpiece, the resurrection has been much less frequently depicted in the history of art, despite its importance as a Christian observance.

Here, in a polyptych (multi-panel) for Santi Nazaro e Celso in Brescia, the great Venetian painter Tiziano Vecellio, commonly known as Titian, has applied his mastery to a heroic depiction of Christ, almost appearing to physically stand on the clouds above Brescia, the town in which the painting resides (at the request of Titian’s patron, who is depicted in the lower left panel).

The foreground figures of those witnessing the event are cast in shadow, their reactions downplayed in relation to the figure of Christ against a dramatic sky.

It’s interesting to compare this work to Ruben’s similarly heroic triptych, Albrecht Altdorfer’s wonderfully dramatic sky and Matthias Gruenwald’s stunningly presented event, all of which make the reaction of the observers a major component of the drama.

My favorite panel in this work, however, is Titian’s portrayal of the Archangel Gabriel (image above, bottom).


6 responses to “Tiziano Vecellio (Titian): Polyptych of the Resurrection”

  1. Saskia Avatar

    You are absolutely right, there are far more depictions of, say, the Annunciation in our minds than of the Resurrection.
    I think it is interesting to look to the eastern churches in this case. They put a different emphasis on the easter events and focus on the how Christ, through his death, conquers hell and figuratively pulls Adam (and mankind) out of hell, undoing the original sin. This spiritual content is pictured in the Anastasis ikon, that is very wide-spread. I’d assume that the distilled concepts and tradition to picture spritual contents of the ikon is better adapted to this subject matter.
    It is interesting to see what elements of the language of ikons survived in the western tradition of image making. (Bellini’s pieta comes to mind). You can take a look at some resurrection icons here:

  2. Fredric Mark Avatar
    Fredric Mark

    The great masters from Michaelangelo on knew that Christ was the captain of our souls. He was the master of the grave. I love the corporeal depiction of Christ, vibrant and alive. Titian makes me exult in being Mormon and knowing that the flesh subdued is an inheritance unto God and the body and spirit are the complete soul.

  3. john nixon Avatar
    john nixon

    why is ‘cellach of armagh’ depicted in the lower left panel. Ceallach’ was a renowned monk in armagh or even the abbot of armagh and therefore the heir to st patrick . is this a depiction of cellach of armagh. or another saint known as St Celso. or is the latter the ‘italianised’ version of ‘Cellach’. would like to find more info on this polyptich especially to confirm that this is Titian’s depiction of Ceallach of Armagh’
    john nixon armagh city, ireland.

  4. Avatar

    can anyone verify that the saint depicted in the resurrection is Cellach of Armagh d. 1129, preceded st Malachy of Armagh.
    why does he feature in this polygtych? this not celsus?

  5. is this really cellach of armagh d 1129 primate of all ireland?

    1. I can’t personally answer your question, and I’m not certain how likely is is that someone who can will read this. You might try following the reference links from the Wikipedia article and see if they lead to more information: You might also try researching the church or Titian himself to see if the painting is referenced.