Date: 17th century
Making place: Crete
Materials and technics: Tempera and gold on wood
Dimensions: H. 30,5 x w. 39,5 cm
Inscriptions: Inscription in greek on top :"o epitaphios (o) threnos"
Inventory number: PPP4880
Acquisition details: Roger Cabal bequest, 1998
The descent from the Cross, followed by the lamentation over the dead body of Christ, are two moments in the Passion which are not described in the Gospels, but which are inspired by the Apocrypha and by tradition.
Christ is placed on a pink marble stone where his body is to be prepared for placing in the tomb, referred to as the Stone of Unction, which believers still venerate today at the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Mary is holding her son’s head tight against her breast, her cheek against his and her gaze lost in unfathomable sorrow. John is leaning on the body close to Mary, their haloes are touching; Joseph of Arimathea is wrapping the body in the linen which was later named the Holy Shroud; behind him, Nicodemus, overcome with grief, is resting on the ladder which was used to take the body down from the Cross.
Mary Magdalen, accompanied by five other holy women, is lifting her arms up to the sky in a sign of lamentation, in accordance with a mourning ritual inherited from ancient times.
In the foreground, in front of the stone, is the basket containing the nails of the Cross with the pliers which were used to remove them and the vase of aromatics for embalming the body.
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