The Resurrection, Cookham Stanley Spencer Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Resurrection, Cookham was painted by Sir Stanley Spencer in the era of 1924-1927. A devout Christian, Stanley Spencer often painted in his hometown of Cookham and the village often features in the titles of many of his works.

Cookham is located on the Thames within Berkshire. It is known for being the birthplace of Stanley Spencer. Spencer spent almost all of his life in Cookham and it was incredibly dear to him. He often referred to the village as a 'village in Heaven'. Stanley Spencer considered the village of Cookham to be filled with a mysterious sense of magic. When Armageddon is upon the earth, which is the end of the world, the Bible declares that anyone who ever was will come back into being. With this in mind, Stanley Spencer sets The Resurrection, Cookham at his local church for those about him to be resurrected. As well as people from his personal life in the scene, Stanley Spencer adds figures from the Bible alongside them. His wife and himself are included in this painting.

Stanley Spencer has created other paintings around resurrection and as a Christian this theme is clearly very dear to him. With those said paintings and this one, Stanley Spencer utlises greys, pale purples and light greens. He uses a suggestion of silver for the moonlight which makes the scene more mysterious and ethereal. The figures are emerging from their graves in a dream state as they come to terms with the fact they are living again. Though difficult to see, God the Father remains on the porch, watching over those that climb from their graves. Stanley Spencer intended for the artwork to be tranquil and blissful but there is a level of terror in the painting as the dead come back to life, unaware of their state or the surrounding events.

The painting is considered by some to be the greatest English painting ever constructed. The Resurrection offers multiple emotions at once which make it quite a powerful piece to take in. The actual painting is large, at 9 inches by 18 inches. During Stanley Spencer's lifetime he became very popular, with his work entering large collections. He attended Slade School of Fine Art which is part of UCL. It is known as Britain's best art school. As the years went on, Spencer used less and less colour but maintained an intense eye for detail. Throughout his career, Stanley Spencer did not join any schools or movements and remained independent.