The Anastasis

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End of the 15th century, Christ, encompassed within a mandorla in two shades of green, and standing upon the broken gates of hell, holds a cross in one hand, while with the other He raises Adam from the dead; among those who witness the scene are Old Testament Kings and Prophets on the left, and a group of Apostles on the right. The Saviour, the second Adam, who had to assume Adams nature, had to reach the same depths of abasement to which Adam, in death, had descended. The Anastasis represents Christs victory, by the cross, over death: trampling death by death, and granting life to those in tombs... (Easter hymn). By descending into the abyss of the earth, Christ opened mans access to Heaven. The iconography of the Anastasis follows closely the description of the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus (Romans XXI, i): ...a loud voice like thunder sounded:' Be lifted up, everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in (Psalm 23). Hades sent Satan to resist, and ordered his demons to secure the brass gates...but the brazen gates were broken, the bars crushed, and the dead loosened from their bonds...and so the King of Glory entered like a man, and the dark places of Hades were illumined... He stretched out His right hand and took hold of our forefather Adam, and raised him up, then He turned also to the rest and said: Come with me till of you who have suffered death through the tree which this man touched, for I raise you through the tree of the cross . Characteristic of Novgorod is the predominance of the graphic element, as well as the resonant contrast between the vivid reds and greens. Also characteristic is the punctuation through white highlights of the red and green mountain crags, which rear up in the background of the image.