Jesus floats next to a circular stone which is moved to allow him to reappear from the darkened depths. He is placed centrally to underline his importance in this composition whilst everything else is there simply to support him within the artwork. This may not have been the artist’s only religious artwork, there were several, but this was still rare compared to his signature style of depicting peasant life in an honest but upbeat manner.
Bruegel places a multitude of figures in the near foreground who are so shocked by his resurrection that they fall to the floor in amazement. There are countless biblical stories that achieve a similar level of heightened emotions that prove ideal as inspiration for many artists, particularly from the Italian and Northern Renaissance because religion was such a powerful force there at that time.
The artist created many drawings as study pieces whilst others were purely for his own fun and amusement, with these generally being fully complete and with more detail. Some of his more complex paintings required several studies, of varying levels of detail, to perfect different areas which would be placed together in the final piece.