The use of light and shade, saturated colors, and bold gestures dramatically capture the drama of the Resurrection, so vividly recorded in the Bible. Famous as the teacher of Rembrandt, Pieter Lastman brought a direct, emotional conviction to religious themes in his native Amsterdam in the early 1600s.
In The Resurrection, Lastman emphasized the expressive power of the miracle taking place, contrasting divine light with the doom of the unredeemed. An angel gently lifts the heavy lid from the tomb as Christ ascends to heaven surrounded by putti. Bright light from Christ's halo illuminates the standing angel and throws into shadow the standing soldier with upraised arms, outlining his bright red costume. A terror-stricken soldier sprawls on the ground with his head thrown back and his arm raised as if to ward off a blow. To the right, a turbaned man shields his eyes while a soldier in a plumed hat sleeps. In the background, rays from the rising sun light the approach of the three Marys.