The paper, The esoteric content of The Descent from the Cross (P.P.Rubens 1612; Our Lady’s Cathedral, Antwerp) – Part I has just been uploaded to Academia.edu. The 22 page paper is interesting and richly illustrated:
Rubens depicts the retrievement of Christ’s body from the cross upon a white shroud. A shroud is mentioned in the gospels, but only in connection with Christ’s tomb (John 19:40; 20:5-8). The scene of the descent of the cross is not described in the New Testament. Rubens was a devote christian. He knew his bible. The question arises why he so conspicuously placed a shroud at the core of his Descent from the Cross.
Contemplating the overall stage set on the painting, we notice that the outline of the shroud with the lifeless Christ seems to extend along the second diagonal of the painting (from top right to bottom left). The eight characters surrounding the shroud appear to be disposed along some oval or ellipse-like loop. The ellipse that seems to waver within the scene can indeed be drawn (figure 4) and it possesses some surprising properties.
Click on the above image to see an enlarged version.
This is interesting:
Horoscopes are embedded in many of Rubens’ religious paintings. He was acquainted with a rather elaborated Christian chronology that, apparently, was transmitted throughout the ages and that goes back to the gospels (especially the gospel of John). As infuriating as the idea might seem, a current of underground teaching did indeed exist in Christianity from its very beginning and it played a major role in the history of Christianity and in Christian art. Chronological data are encoded in the gospels, especially in John. According to esoteric tradition, Christ’s death and resurrection happened on Friday, April 3, 33 AD, and Sunday, April 5, 33 AD (Julian calendar), respectively.