The dead christ in the tomb and three sore

Andrea Mantegna

The iconography of the work, probably intended for private devotion of the artist, refers to the compositional scheme of the Lamentation over the dead Christ, which includes the presence of the mourners gathered around the body prepared for burial and laid on the stone of the anointing, and already sprinkled with perfumes.
The composition produces a great emotional impact, accentuated by the awesome perspective: the body of Christ is very close to the point of view of a spectator, looking at it, is dragged to the center of the drama; in addition, every detail is enhanced by the sharp stroke of the lines, forcing the eye to linger on the details the most terrible, on the limbs stiffened by rigor mortis as well as on the wounds, ostentatiously presented in the first floor, as established by the tradition of this kind of image.
This is an absolute summit of the production madonna, a work that for the expressive power, for the severe composure, and for the mastery of the imaginary perspective has become one of the symbols most well-known of the Italian Renaissance.

“Have you ever seen a Christ like that? The extreme perspective view of the body is shocking, almost blasphemous. There is no hope of resurrection on that table the cold of the morgue. Yet His presence is very intense: the hands twisted, the wounds now dry, the features strong and folds carved in the shroud. At least Mary may cry, while we feel that we are intruders, voyeurs. It seems strange that this picture has never left the studio of Mantegna? Who could buy it? And he, how could he let him go?”
Sarah Dunant

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