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Pynas, Jacob Symonsz.
The Raising of Lazarus
1624

The Gospel of John (II: 1-44) relates how when Jesus hears of the illness of his friend Lazarus, the beloved brother of Mary and Martha, he waits a couple of days before travelling to their hometown of Bethany. When he does arrive, he learns that Lazarus has already died. Moved by his friends’ sorrow and grief, he proceeds to Lazarus’s grave and orders the sealing stone removed. After thanking God, he cries out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth,” upon which Lazarus emerges from the grave alive. The gospel describes how Lazarus emerges swathed in burial clothes, which are then removed by onlookers. In the present painting, Pynas shows an old man attending to this task, as Lazarus clambers out of his grave. Behind them, to the far right, a female bystander covers her nose at the smell that is actually mentioned in the text, and a kneeling woman to the left of Jesus clasps her hands and throws her head back in joy. This is almost certainly Mary Magdalene, whose long tresses and expression of ecstatic emotion foreshadow her act of wiping Jesus’s feet with her hair. The picture’s most poignant element, however, is Lazarus’s piercing gaze as he looks across at Jesus: the artist has used its intensity to convey the special significance of this dramatic revelation of Jesus’s power over death.

 
Pynas, Jacob Symonsz.
Amsterdam, Netherlands around 1590–Delft, Netherlands around 1648
The Raising of Lazarus
1624
Oil on panel
height / width: 22.70 x 35.50 cm; 8.94 x 13.98 in.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Bader, 1981
24-030

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