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.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

Access the Museums of the City of Paris collections portal
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.