The Resurrection: Joy, Hope and Salvation



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When Jesus was resurrected, becoming for us The Christ, in that moment the world was changed forever!

Painting "He has been raised!"_1st Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung

Dark was the time when Judas betrayed Jesus, which led to His suffering, crucifixion and death on the Cross; a time when the faith of His followers was tested. But when the Messiah-Christ rose on the third day, their prayers were answered, their faith fulfilled, their joy overflowing.

We are living in such dark times and now it is our faith that is being tested. We feel the sting of betrayal. Through our tears and outrage we better understand how Jesus suffered and we are drawn closer to Him.

The feeling is like Death–dark, empty and cold. But as His disciples came to know, we recognize that Jesus is Resurrected; therefore our faith is fortified, our resolve strong! For we live in the Light and have our being in the Love and Mercy of our Savior Christ Jesus.

Christ is Resurrected! Hallelujah!

My major project for the last five years has been to paint the Stations of the Resurrection (Via Lucis: The Way of Light) when Jesus appeared to His disciples beginning on Easter Sunday over a period of 40 days until he ascended and then gifted them with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

My hope is that these images will be received in our churches. They are for sale in sets of 14 but can be purchased individually for the home or in limited sets. Titles and text in English or Spanish.

The fourteen Stations shown here are high-quality reproductions. The original paintings are in the central nave of the historic Cathedral in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Saint John the Baptist)

Following the images, read more concerning recent history of how the Via Lucis came to be sanctioned by the Vatican, and comments on the art and motivations that inspired this all-important project.


Painting "He has been raised!"_1st Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
HE HAS BEEN RAISED!   In the first station we are confronted, as are the women who approached the tomb, with the feeling of other worldliness upon seeing the angel and the empty tomb. In symbolic language we have the circle within the square. The square represents our present earth-bound reality, our orientation of north, south, east and west. The circle symbolizes the divine dimension of Eternity. It is also a symbol of the Eucharist. These symbols are maintained throughout all the stations except for one, which we will eventually come to.


Painting "He saw and believed"_2nd Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
HE SAW AND BELIEVED   The second station puts us inside the empty tomb, witnessing Peter and John’s discovery that indeed Christ has been risen. The gestures speak to us; Peter’s as if to say, “can it be?” John’s emphatic gesture says it all “He is risen!” The shape of the burial cloth as it hangs over the edge of the sepulcher is a reiteration of John’s expression of uplifting joy. Here as in the first station we see in the bottom half of the circle Calvary and the abyss that represents death, and the three-dimensional cross, because it is the bridge from earthly to eternal reality.


Painting "Go tell my brothers"_3rd Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
GO TELL MY BROTHERS    Mary Magdalene encounters Christ. He speaks her name. The gestures express the reading. Again, we are inside the tomb looking out. The two angels, the one on the right with the scroll of the Old Testament and the verse from Isaiah 7:14 which prophesizes the Messiah; the angel on the left holds a book which is blank, for the New Testament has yet to be written. We see Golgotha and the three crosses in the background in the dawning light.


Painting "They did not recognize him"_4th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM   As in the reading we see the two disciples excitedly telling the apparent stranger of the latest news. There is much expression in the apparent movement of the hands and the closeness of the figures, the direction of the road leading to them, the dark repetitive shapes of the ravine pointing towards them, and the stones all indicate urgent conversation. The stark light also intensifies the feeling of urgency and importance. The dove, the lizard and even the flowers are listening.


Painting "Then their eyes were opened"_5th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
THEN THEIR EYES WERE OPENED   In contrast to the previous station, this scene is peaceful, centered and subdued like the setting of the sun beyond the distant hills. The sharing of the meal under a soft tent-like shelter on the roof of the house at Emmaus. The opening of the curtain reminds us of the tearing of the curtain in the temple when Christ died on the cross. It is that moment of recognition when with the breaking of the bread the disciples recognize this stranger as their Lord, the Risen Christ.


Painting "Do you have anything to eat?"_6th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO EAT?   Here we see quiet astonishment when Jesus declares he is risen, he is flesh and bone, he is hungry. He says, “do you have anything to eat?” Again, the parting of the curtain indicates the opening of the eye of consciousness. Jesus raises his hand as if to say, “don’t be shocked, be blessed”. Even the fish shows awareness.


Painting_"Receive the Holy Spirit"_7th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT   Here we see the disciples now know it is their Risen Lord. They have seen him before, they have eaten with him and here they are in deep devotion as Christ blows the Holy Spirit on them, giving them the power to forgive sins. The water jugs symbolize their baptism. The rooster crows as a sign of fulfillment, of completion. The lilies are a sign of the purity of the eleven apostles and the blessing of the Father.


Painting "My Lord and my God!"_8th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
MY LORD AND MY GOD!   The doubting surrounding Doubting Thomas. Here we see once again the timidity and uncertainty of the belief of the apostles in the resurrection of Jesus. As Thomas timorously places his hand in the wound (even as the Lord steadies his hand), the other apostles to a man look on vicariously sharing a moment of wondrous curiosity even as they reinforce their own belief that this really is their Lord who they know died on the Roman cross.


Painting "It is the Lord!"_9th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
IT IS THE LORD!   The Light of Christ as a beacon of Faith. As what oftentimes happens, the fishermen came up short, a whole night spent without a fish for breakfast. Christ appears as a beacon of Hope and He fills their net with bounty. The boat swings into action, the tilt of the mast and that of the crossbeam, the prow and the stern all point towards the fulfillment of the Lord’s commandment, “cast your net”. Blessings of abundance are yours if only you are obedient and have faith in the voice of your shepherd.


Painting "Peter, do you love me?"_10th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
PETER, DO YOU LOVE ME?   Here we have the essence of the faith, Love. Love one another as I have loved you. So, Christ Jesus tells Peter, If you love me, you will love and care for my little ones, you will care for my faithful, you will care for the old and the vulnerable because that is the essence of Love, to care for each other. Here we can see the language of art working together to bring this moment, this message alive.


Painting "Go then to all Peoples"_11th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
GO THEN TO ALL PEOPLES    Here I am expressing the message of Mission, as a chain linking all the world in a message of Love that the cross has bridged this life to the next, has liberated us from death. So, Christ sends out His followers to continue His work, to evangelize the world. And here we see vaguely in the background the image of Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul who will become the most active and daring of all the evangelists.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Painting_"He is taken up"_12th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
HE IS TAKEN UP   Here we have the Ascension of Christ to His Father, as the apostles look on. “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.” (1 Corinthians 15: 3-8)


Painting_"The Vigil"_13th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
THE VIGIL   Here we have the Easter Vigil. Again, we are reminded of Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodriguez’ declaration “Vivimos para Esa Noche”. We live in the Light, anticipation and Faith as a community of believers, sisters and brothers, faithful always to the coming and dwelling of the Holy Spirit, which blesses us forever because of God’s love for us.


Painting_Pentecost_14th Station of the Resurrection by avonnhartung
PENTECOST   Peter stands at Pentecost and delivers his prophetic speech, engulfed in the cloud of Grace that has engulfed all the faithful community which speaks now in many languages throughout the world. This is the station that does not follow the form of the other stations because this is the station opening onto the Basilica of St. Peter’s at the Vatican, St. Peter’s bringing to earth even today the Holy Spirit that dwells in us in that we will carry it with us as we leave and continue in the Light, Hope and Joy of the Resurrection.


The idea for depicting the Way of Light was inspired by an ancient inscription found on a wall of the San Callisto Catacombs on the Appian Way in Rome. This cemetery is named for Saint Callistus, a slave who eventually became the 16th pope (217-222).

The inscription found at Saint Callistus comes from the first letter St. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth (around 56 A.D.), in response to the report that some members were denying the Resurrection. The full statement in the letter is (1 Corinthians 15:3-8):

I delivered to you as of first importance what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles. Last of all, he appeared to me, too, as though I was born when no one expected it.

In 1988 Father Sabino Palumbieri, a Salesian priest and professor of Theological Anthropology at the Salesian University in Rome “proposed the creation of a new set of stations [to complement the Stations of the Cross] centered upon the Resurrection and the events following it, so as to emphasize the positive hopeful aspect of the Christian story which, though not absent from the Stations of the Cross, is obscured by their emphasis on suffering.”

Father Sabino wrote of this idea in the document “Give Me a Firm Footing” (1999) describing the realizations that he had “after a profound crisis of existential meaning…because of the prospect of death” followed by study of the gospels and recognizing that “With the Risen One, I know why I live.

“Personally – thanks to this turning point of faith – I was able to continually proclaim the Risen One and in this way propose, as Paul VI said, Christianity as joy, as continual striving to supersede the stalemate of suffering without an outlet.

… A new form of popular piety, by his grace, was sketched out. It is the Via Lucis, which is the physiological second moment of the Via Crucis, that by now has spread itself throughout the five continents. 

…So many suffering people write to me saying that every day they do a station of the Via Lucis, drawing from it strength, joy and peace… It does not mean abolishing the Via Crucis, which is the mirror of the suffering of Calvary without end in the world. It means only completing it with the Via Lucis, which is the mirror of the hopes of the world, especially of those to whom it most rightly belongs, the poor.”

The first major public celebration of the devotion was in 1990. It was officially sanctioned by the Vatican in 2001.

In contemplating painting the Stations, I realized that when Jesus was resurrected, becoming for us The Christ, in that moment the world was changed forever!

Earth burst into blossom, Earth glowed with light in the deep dark night of time. Everything, all Creation was illuminated with Divine significance, light, hope.

As such I painted these Stations. The intense color is meant to bring this miraculous change into our consciousness.

The colors are super-infused with hue. Each color becomes the heightened essence of itself.  These stained-glass appearing paintings might look fantasia-like. They’re meant to be however, simple in form and basic in content.

The figures show emotion in their gestures and exaggerated movements. This is to show that reality was turned on its head. Something so unbelievable had occurred that it changed consciousness forever!

The world became full of hope, full of light and full of meaning because the darkness of death had lost its power, its grip on humanity.

Hallelujah! HE IS RISEN!



7 Responses

  1. These have come at the right time for the church, especially when people have found no fulfilment in self-indulgence. Many thanks for your great work.

    1. Hector. Thank you for your kind and inspiring words!
      I know that my ability is a Gift from God; that’s how I heard the Call
      to give back that Gift to His church and His People. All blessings, Hector!

  2. Hector, these are beautiful. My church would love to feature your artwork during our online worship service. Please let me know the permissions necessary to do so.

    1. Rebecca, thank you and bless you for your interest! To clarify, my name is Vonn as you can see in my website. (Hector is a friend)
      Of course, you have my permission, with attribution, to use my painted Stations of the Resurrection for your virtual online worship service. This is a time to fortify our hope with faith and there is nothing stronger than to pray the Stations of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. God bless you and your church for your faithful witnessing!
      Yours in Christ’s name, AVonnHartung

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