Robert Anning Bell, R.A. 1863 - 1933
The Women going to the Sepulchre
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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The Women going to the Sepulchre, 1912
Oil on canvas, 760 X 1270 mm
Diploma Work given by Robert Anning Bell, R.A., accepted 1922
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Robert Anning Bell's painting shows the Virgin Mary leading a procession of holy women into Christ's tomb (or sepulchre) on the day following the Crucifixion. The women carry fragrant oils to anoint the body and Mary Magdalen, identified by her long red hair, can be seen on the right holding a jar of myrrh

Anning Bell specifically chose this quiet moment just before the women discover that Christ's body has disappeared. The painting has an air of solemn piety evoked by the cool, subdued colours, frieze-like composition and barren landscape. The artist also worked as a sculptor, illustrator and designer of stained glass and mosaics. Here, the colouring and simplicity of design indicate his interest in low relief sculpture and Italian Renaissance frescoes.

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