This canvas was painted during Van Dyck?s sojourn in Italy. The composition of the picture was inspired by the central part of the triptych painted by Peter Paul Rubens to decorate the burial place of Nicolaes Rockox, the burgomaster of Antwerp (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp). Resurrected Christ stands before three of His disciples. Two of them, most likely Peter and Paul, look upon Him in awe, but the third, Thomas, has bent down on his knees to have a closer look at the wounds on the palms of the Saviour. Van Dyck succeeded in conveying the profound drama of the event. The figure of Christ, with head bent to one side and illuminated by bright light, expresses the suffering He has undergone, His submissiveness to fate and, at the same time, there is the miracle of the Resurrection, which inspires the astonishment we see on the faces of the disciples. The restrained colours of the painting, the alternation of light and dark areas and the mild semi-shade liken this work to Van Dyck?s canvas Ecce Homo (Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham).
Appearance of Christ to his Disciples
Entered the Hermitage in 1772; acquired from the collection of L.A. Crozat, Baron de Thiers in Paris