On the Third Day He Rose Again
Berhanemeskel Fisseha (Ethiopian, b. 1947)
MediumPaint on canvas
DimensionsWork : 7 ft. 1 in. x 36 in. (2.2 m x 91.44 cm)
Credit LineGift of Neal and Elizabeth Sobania
LabelChrist’s resurrection and last judgment are common subjects in Ethiopian church murals and icon paintings. This intriguing painting of a glorious risen Christ surrounded by a multitude of the saved while demons gnash their teeth in frustration below combines elements of both subjects but does not conform exactly to the traditional conventions for either one. It was created after Neal Sobania spoke with the artist about a familiar passage from the Apostles’ Creed in which Christ dies, descends into hell and rises again on the third day. Sobania asked if these lines were ever portrayed in Ethiopian painting. Berhanemeskel replied that that they were not but that they could be, and he produced this painting without ever mentioning that the Apostles’ Creed is not used in the liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Berhanemeskel Fisseha is one of the leading religious painters active in Ethiopia today. He has been commissioned to create large sets of mural paintings for dozens of churches around his home city of Aksum and elsewhere across Ethiopia.