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The Women at the Tomb
Nicomedia (or) Turkey Nicaea Turkey (Place created)
late 13th century
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment
Ms. Ludwig II 5, fol. 74v
Leaf: 20.6 × 14.9 cm (8 1/8 × 5 7/8 in.)
According to the Gospels, Christ rose from his tomb on the third day after his death. This image shows the moment when holy women--who had come to Christ's grave to anoint his body in keeping with funeral rites--are greeted by a magnificent angel who points to the tomb, telling them that Christ is no longer there. For the medieval viewer, Christ's missing body was a sign of his triumph over death. Here, rather than simply depicting an empty tomb, the artist articulated the shocking absence of a body through a gap in the shroud between the head and neck area, graphically demonstrating the emptiness within.