Anthony Visco, The Fifteenth Station: The Resurrection
The fifteen Stations of the Cross are the centerpieces of a Catholic devotional practice that focuses on the events of the last day of Christ’s life. They are typically installed in a church where parishioners can move from station to station, reciting specific prayers and contemplating the suffering and resurrection of Christ. Traditionally there were fourteen stations. During his papacy, which began in 1978, Pope John Paul II encouraged Catholics to add a fifteenth Station, the Resurrection of Christ, which is now included in many Catholic churches.
This representation of the fifteenth Station is a model for the plaster and wood relief sculpture installed in Old Saint Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia. Visco depicts Christ stepping out of the tomb. His arms are extended outward as his drape blows in the wind, a manifestation of the glorious excitement of the event. In the sky above, angels rejoice and sing. The presence of three rabbits symbolizes spring and rebirth. Legend has it that brown rabbits at the tomb were startled by the risen Christ and they turned white. This is the origin of the Easter Bunny.
Visco’s virtuoso command of relief carving techniques allows him to create the illusion of figures and objects as three-dimensional entities on a relatively flat plane.