Church architecture, Church of England., Churches, entombment, Jesus Christ., Joseph of Armathea, Mary Magdalene, Nicedemus, St Mary, stained glass., The Blessed Virgin Mother, The Entombment, Wimborne Minster
Another usual example of stained glass from Wimborne Minster [the first being a depiction of The Resurrection]. Joseph of Arimathea, wearing a blue halo, as well as a red cap, lowers Jesus Christ into a “modern box tomb“, on the left of the scene. Nicedemus, who helped prepare Jesus Christ’s body for burial, wears a purple halo and stand on the right of the scene. Mary, The Blessed Virgin Mother, looks composed beside Joseph of Armathea. Mary Magdalene however is obscured by the haloes of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicedemus, which makes for a rather unusual composition!
You can see the top of her head above the haloes and two hands raised in an attitude of grief.
To quote from Richard Taylor’s “How To Read a Church“, “The moment of the Resurrection is not recorded in the Gospel, but it is widely portrayed in the art of the Western Church. Jesus emerges in glory from the tomb. He is dressed in white or gold and may be holding the banner of the Resurrection, a pole bearing a pendant with a red cross on a white background“.
Here the banner has a white cross on a red background, but I think it is safe to say that the central figure in this scene is Jesus Christ, bearing the wounds of his crucifixion (note hole in the palm of the right hand), rising from a rather fantastical tomb! The scene is made even more unusual by the presence of an angel in the foreground removing what looks like the lid of what Taylor describes in his book as a “modern box-tomb“, which seems to bear little relation to the crenelated from which Jesus Christ is emerging.
To quote from Richard Taylor’s, “How To Read a Church“, one of my most thumbed through reference books, “St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John, each a writer of the four Gospels, are known as the Four Evangelists. Their symbols are, respectively, a man (or angle), a lion (often with wings), a bull or ox (likewise), and an eagle“.
All four symbols are used by the Prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament, “As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle” (Ezekiel 1:10) and The Book of Revelation, “ And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle” (Revelation 4:7).
To quote from Taylor again, “St. John was ascribed the eagle because his Gospel is the most soaring and revelatory, and the eagle in mythology is the only bird able to look directly into the light of the sun“.