Bruegel: Holy Saturday

Peter Bruegel the elder, woodcut: Christ descends into hell, 1561, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem


Here’s an interesting tweet, from the (always interesting) Bryan Appleyard:

Easter Saturday, a catastrophic, hopeless day of no hope. Some say all Beckett’s work takes place on Easter Saturday.

I can see how it must have felt that way on the first occasion, but isn’t the whole point that we no longer should do, the resurrection itself being just around the corner?

To me the day is always remarkably calm with a deep sense of anticipation. That’s genuine, not cooked up for this blog post. No doubt a Dawkins type might have a take on that along the lines of delusion/self fulfilling etc, but I’m afraid it’s real. I’m with the legendary sermon of Melito of Sardis:

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness…

One of the more visited posts on this blog is last year’s Holy Saturday one, discussing the Harrowing of Hell. Then it was illustrated by a junior Bruegel*. The above woodcut is typical of his father, and if you like that sort of thing, which I do, quite brilliant.


*I’ve gone for the ‘Bruegel’ spelling, but it could equally be ‘Brueghel’. This upsets your Google search of course




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