The Resurrection of the Soldiers by Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE,RA (Cookham 1891¿ Cliveden 1959)

Oil painting on canvas, The Resurrection of the Soldiers by Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891? Cliveden 1959), 1928/9. This picture is a reminder of the relationship between war, death and Christianity. The ‘Resurrection’ took Spencer nearly a year to complete. It dominates the Chapel and all the other scenes are subordinate too it. The picture is a reminder of the relationship between war, death and Christianity, not merely a convenient and familiar religious image behind the altar. The composition is based on a complex pattern of wooden crosses which was suggested to Spencer by his habit of squaring up the canvas in order to work out the design. As a living soldier hands in his rifle at the end of service, so a dead soldier carries his cross to Christ, who is seen in the middle distance receiving these crosses. Spencer’s idea was that the cross produces a different reaction in everybody.

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