01 Work, Interpretation of the bible, Quentin Massys the Elder’s Lamentation, with Footnotes – #192

Circle of Quentin Massys the Elder (Dutch, 1466-1530)

Oil on cradled panel
34 x 27 1/2 in. (86.4 x 69.9cm)
Private collection

This Lamentation is a very close copy of a lost prototype that Massys executed in the 1520s. Here, the artist depicts a dead Christ lying in his mother’s arms after his crucifixion on Calvary. Christ is shown naked, his sides flanked by a white drapery that cushions his head, which the Virgin is supporting with both of her hands. Mary is shown fully veiled, wearing a red dress covered by a blue fur coat. She tilts her anguished face towards her son and tenderly brushes her mouth against his newly inanimate lips. In the upper right background stand the three crosses upon which Christ and the malefactors were crucified, while to the left two figures are shown marching on a dirt road, both dressed in oriental garments and carrying presents. In the distance lays Jerusalem, with its distinctive city walls. More on this painting

The Lamentation of Christ is a very common subject in Christian art from the High Middle Ages to the Baroque. After Jesus was crucified, his body was removed from the cross and his friends mourned over his body. This event has been depicted by many different artists.

Lamentation works are very often included in cycles of the Life of Christ, and also form the subject of many individual works. One specific type of Lamentation depicts only Jesus’ mother Mary cradling his body. These are known as Pietà (Italian for “pity”) More The Lamentation of Christ

Quentin Massys (1466–1530) was a Flemish painter in the Early Netherlandish tradition. He was born in Leuven. There is a tradition alleging that he was trained as an ironsmith before becoming a painter. Matsys was active in Antwerp for over 20 years, creating numerous works with religious roots and satirical tendencies. He is regarded as the founder of the Antwerp school of painting, which became the leading school of painting in Flanders in the 16th century. He introduced new techniques and motifs as well as moralising subjects without completely breaking with the tradition. More on Quentin Massys

Please visit my other blogs: Art CollectorMythologyMarine ArtPortrait of a Lady, The OrientalistArt of the Nude and The Canals of VeniceMiddle East Artists365 Saints and 365 Days, also visit my Boards on Pinterest

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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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