The Tomb of Christ, Duc de Berry paintings
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Passion of Christ, Cranach

The Passion

Crucifixion, Francis Bacon


Jesus taken down from the cross, painting detail

Descent from the cross

Spanish wood carving, painted, of the dead Jesus of Nazareth

Burial of Jesus




Stone tomb with circular stone door rolled away from entrance

Burying the dead

Mary Magdalene, Susanna and Joanna: women at the tomb of Jesus

Women at the Tomb

Scale drawing of an Roman-era tomb

Ancient tombs

Route to Calvary

Maps of Jerusalem

Tissot_resurr_3.JPG (74684 bytes)

Click on the image to see the artist James Tissot's remarkably accurate painting of the inside of the Tomb of Lazarus.

Then go to Archaeology for photos of 1st century tombs.

      The soldiers sleep at Jesus' tomb

Soldiers sleeping by the tomb of Jesus, Duc de Berry's Book of Hours

 Now the next day . . . the chief priests and Pharisees came together with Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again' . Command therefore that the sepulchre be made secure until the third day..."   Pilate said to them, 'You have a watch: go your way, make it as secure as you can. (Matthew 27: 62-65).

The three soldiers have fallen asleep around Christ's solitary tomb (quite unlike an authentic 1st century AD Jewish tomb), but to a degree they still guard it:

  • the averted soldier is half upright, his hand resting on the pommel of his sword

  • the head of his comrade has fallen forward on his knee, but he still has hold of his grotesque shield shaped like a mask with wide-open mouth (similar to the famous Bocca della Veritá in Rome)

  • the third guard, armed with a battle-axe, sleeps with his hand on the lid.

The artist has painted a deep landscape. Trees rise from the hills beyond the barren foreground. The ancient city of Jerusalem dominates the heights to the right, and against the horizon the grotesquely twisted bodies of the thieves still hang on their crosses on the  distant Mount Calvary. Roman soldiers sleep at the tomb of Jesus, Duc de Berry, Book of Hours, whole page

Incidentally, this is one of the earliest examples of a sky streaked with clouds.


Click on the picture at right to see the whole page as it appeared in the Duc de Berry's Book of Hours





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Bible Study Guide: Paintings of soldiers at the tomb of Jesus, Les Belles Heures, Duc du Barry

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