40.5 x 26.7 x 6 cm
Gift of Mrs. Gordon W. MacDougall Estate, inv. 1967.Dv.3
This work is made of gypsum alabaster, a fine-grained stone similar in appearance to marble, though much softer and easier to carve. Unlike marble, which had to be imported from continental Europe, alabaster was plentiful in England. It was thus much cheaper to produce and consequently was used more frequently. Panels of the Resurrection were particularly prominent and were often found on altarpieces depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ or the Joys of the Virgin. Artists working in alabaster often followed standardized patterns, and this relief follows the compositional norms of the second half of the fifteenth century. The Risen Christ, raising his hand in blessing, is shown stepping out of the tomb onto the chest of a soldier, underlining the triumph of his resurrection. The positions of the other three soldiers are also typical. Small angels would have likely been depicted in the upper corners, and Christ would have been holding a staff or cross with a banner of the Resurrection.