Whether people believe in the biblical Jesus or not, you can’t go through an art gallery in any major city of the Western world without seeing at least one artwork that depicts a scene from his life, death and resurrection. And you can’t visit a church without seeing even more.
As the chief art critic from The Times in London says at the outset of this British-made documentary, “It is certainly the most illustrated story in Western history”.
What Easter In Art does for us is condense a lifetime of travel and visits to galleries, museums and churches into one remarkable piece of cinema. Actors read from the four gospels while hundreds of works inspired by the final days of Jesus’ life appear before our eyes, created from pre-Renaissance times to the modern era.
What Easter In Art does for us is condense a lifetime of travel and visits to galleries, museums and churches into one remarkable piece of cinema
The brilliant thing is that while there are pieces that are well known no matter how minor your art knowledge – such as Michelangelo’s Last Supper – many will be completely new. From Dürer to Dali, Rembrandt to Rubens, Giotto to El Greco... along with Titian, Caravaggio, Van Dyck and so many more, we are taken on the journey with Jesus from his arrival in Jerusalem through to his ascension.
Discovering this art is both wonderful and painful, as words and images blend together to provide a powerful, sometimes graphic reminder of all that Jesus has done for us. Artistically, there is beauty, ugliness and numerous “Wow” moments as we walk with our Saviour through sorrow, evil, suffering, shame and death to eventual glory.
There was an attempt to release this film at Easter last year that was thwarted because of COVID. This time, it will get a wider release, although for a brief window in the week before Easter.
Included in the film are regular observations from art experts and historians, some of which are tremendously insightful (such as the comments about Judas wearing yellow, the “colour of betrayal”, in Giotto’s The Arrest of Jesus), while others veer into speculative art speak and aren’t at all helpful.
The filmmaker also muddles his biblical timeline and manages to put Jesus’ ascension before the Road to Emmaus but, in the end, it doesn’t really matter because the story is still being told. In one sense it’s all about the art, but it’s brilliant to have the wonderful truths of Scripture told with it – and on the big screen.
Screening at the Dendy Newtown, Palace Chauvel and Norton Street, Hayden Orpheum, Huskisson Pictures and Avoca Beach cinemas.