Second Moses or Rainbow Resurrection
Updated: May 21
Peter's pictures are sometimes commissioned for a specific church, but sometimes his paintings are also designed to be hung in a very specific location and that is integral to the design. With the Rainbow Resurrection we have a painting that could hang elsewhere but is designed to be hung in Our Lady of Peace church, behind the altar, in place of the cross crucifixion. And, ideally it should be displayed alongside two other pictures showing the drowning of pharaoh's soldiers in the Red Sea during the escape of the Israelites from Pharaoh, lead by Moses.
It has always been his view that the tradition of draping statues with purple cloth during Lent should be reserved for happy images, as we are anticipating the crucifixion, and that at Easter, all pictures of the crucifixion should be put away when we remove these drapes. For this reason he has made two different Resurrection pictures for Our Lady of Peace church to temporarily replace the crucifixion behind the altar. This rainbow or Moses version designed as an updated replacement of the first.
With this picture, particularly combined with the paintings of the Egyptian soldiers drowning, Peter visualises Jesus as the continuation of Moses. This idea of Jesus as the culmination of the old testament scriptures, particularly at Easter, is reflected in the readings of the Easter vigil mass, which covers the pivotal moments, and includes the escape of the Israelites. Peter's own references for the subject of this picture embody this too. The verses (Deuteronomy 15,Numbers 12) allude to a coming prophet and leader. Jesus is the ultimate prophet and leader and seeing Him is seeing the form of God.
Thus in this picture we see Jesus flanked by two large waves, rolling away from him, with fearful crowds in the dark behind him. These waves link into the rolling waves of the Egyptian soldiers drowning, which are physically designed to be stood in the area next to the font and in front of this picture. Jesus' resurrection leads us, the new Israelites, out of darkness and into the light of new life.
You could also see the crowds in the dark behind him as also part of the doctrine that Jesus having descended into hell, lead those there into the light.
Jesus' white/pale yellow clothing also could allude to the Transfiguration, in that Jesus after death is now transformed to his heavenly self, as he appeared in that moment
"his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as dazzling as light" (Matthew 17:3, Mark 9:3, Luke 9:29).
The water pouring from Jesus' side is also meant to depict the water that fell from Jesus' side at his death, when his side was pierced to prove to the soldiers that he had died. It is also meant to show Jesus as the font of the waters of new life. This falling water is designed so that if viewed from the church, seated in the congregation, it should appear that the water falls into the actual font, showing Jesus as the source of the blessing in the font.
The colours of this picture are perhaps one of the most striking things about the picture, with the rainbow circling Jesus above and below and reflected in the water from his side. Although overall the picture sticks to Peter's general design principle of having only three main colours (green, purple, yellow), the radiance of the rainbow creates a further exuberance to the picture.