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Icon of the Anastasis

Byzantine, c. 1350-1375 
Tempera on wood with gilding

This icon, one of the finest in North America, features the Anastasis - the Resurrection of Christ, the traditional Byzantine image depicting Christ's descent into hell to redeem the Just of the Old Testament. In the upper portion of the painting, the Harrowing of Hell is shown. In the Christian tradition, this is the period of time between Christ's burial on Good Friday and the discovery of his Resurrection on Easter Sunday, when Christ was thought to have entered hell, defeated Satan, and freed the worthy souls who had been imprisoned there, including David, Solomon, John the Baptist and other prophets, and the first parents, Adam and Eve. Beneath is a depiction of the Holy Women mourning at Christ's tomb and then learning of the Resurrection from the angel.

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