This marvelous book explores the deep meaning of the watercolor Easter (or “Three Crosses”) painted by Rudolf Steiner in April 1924. Living through this book into Steiner’s watercolor painting, the reader is led to contemplate the profound mysteries of not only colors and the sense world, but also the divine, cosmic, human invisible reality lying behind them and manifested in the unique event we celebrate as Easter.
At first, the coloring and composition of the painting seem relatively simple. But the longer one looks at and mediates upon it, questions begin to press upon the viewer:
Answering these questions, artist Angela Lord draws on a wide range of anthroposophic and other sources to illuminate the enormous mystery of Easter itself. It becomes clear that in the painting, Steiner does not focus on Good Friday but on Holy Saturday and Jesus Christ’s “descent into hell,” or into Limbo, to raise the dead. Thus, the motif is not suffering so much as it is the germinating theme of Resurrection.
- Why did Rudolf Steiner use the rainbow sequence of colors?
- Why are the crosses so small, seen only from a distance?
- Who or what are the white figures “below the earth”?
- What is the painting actually about?
The author then turns to meditate on the painting in the light of the Twenty-third Psalm, and the reader recognizes the Psalmist’s image of “comfort” in a new form. The book also considers the Easter verses in Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul, as well as the pre-Christian Mystery of Adonis, which expands the the reader's understanding of the colors and the profound meaning of the painting.
Lord then delves into the mysteries of colors as Steiner uses them—from the polarity of red and black, the contrast of orange and green, the radiance of yellow and blue, and the enigmatic presence of white and violet to an experience of the painting as a beautiful rainbow.
The Easter experience, as the colors teach, offers the “rainbow meditation” and what it means to be human. Moreover, because humanity is (in Steiner’s words) “the religion of the gods,” Angela Lord ends her book with an exploration of the cosmic meaning that shines through the colors.