Friday, May 29, 2020

Why does Good Friday dominate in the arts over Easter?

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PAssion and Easter take place in the churches not only for Easter. What the Gospels tell of the last days of Jesus’ life also determines the further annual cycle of Christian life: with images of the crucified and his stations of suffering, men of pain and vespers, which even allow the good news of the resurrection to resign. It is no different in music. Even if churches and halls have to remain empty, surely many more passions and Stabat Mater settings will be heard than those that address the mystery of the resurrection itself. You know little.

But why actually, when this festival in the first weeks of spring is naturally combined with feelings of deep breathing and departure; where in the worldly customs bunnies bounce and brightly painted eggs are hidden? There is something like a tear that a North German pastor once summarized in the question of why the cross actually became the central Christian symbol – and not the victory flag of the risen one; with which he meant the formation of Easter events in the arts. In a church like St. Nicolai in Kalkar, which has retained its decorations dating back to the sixteenth century, you will find around sixty depictions of the crucified and his passion. The resurrection, on the other hand, is not found twenty times, even if you add the pictures of the Ascension; the images of salvation appear regularly only in the marginal zones of the altarpiece, those of the crucifixion, however, almost entirely in the center of the altars or as freely placed individual pieces that attract all attention. Good Friday dominates Easter Sunday.

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