Christ taken down from the cross , Duc de Berry
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Piete, Michelangelo

Paintings, artworks

Crucifixion, by Matthias Grunewald, detail of crucified feet

Paintings: Crucifixion

The route to Calvary 

Route to Calvary

Aerial view of Jerusalem showing the site of the Temple

Maps of 
Jerusalem & Galilee

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

Mary of Nazareth, as portrayed in the movie 'Passion of the Christ'

Mary mother of Jesus

Nail piercing feet of a crucified man

Crucifixion : what archaeology shows

Reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus

at the time of Jesus





Jesus returned to the arms of his mother

Christ is taken down from the cross, the Deposition, Duc de Berry Book of Hours

”And now when the evening was come . . . Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, who also waits for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly to Pilate and begged for the body of Jesus . . . And he bought fine linen and took him down” (Mark 15: 42-46).

As usual in representations of the Deposition, the feet of Christ are still fastened to the cross while the body is lowered. You might think this would have been done the other way round, but to loosen the feet first would have meant the wrists/hands would have had to support the full weight of Jesus' body, and presumably the flesh of his hands would have been torn apart. Instead Joseph of Arimathaea, on the lower rungs of his ladder, supports the corpse from below and Nicodemus, higher up, holds fast to the transverse beam while steadying the corpse with his left arm. In this way the battered body can be gently lowered into the waiting arms of his mother and friends.

The mantle that covered the Virgin's head in earlier scenes has fallen back, and the very youthful mother (in fact she must have been about 46-8 years old) looks up tenderly and reaches out to receive her son, whose right arm has fallen limply upon her shoulder.

On the opposite side a red-robed woman (Mary Magdalene?) wearing a white wimple and a striking scarlet and gold mantle, holds the Crown of Thorns in her reverently covered hand. She is accompanied by another woman (Mary Cleophas?) in a green cloak and a young man who brandishes the two nails. At the extreme left of the painting, John stands gazing at his dead friend and master.

The figures compose a beautiful arabesque, strengthened by the ladders, the cross, and the twin peaks in the distance. The artist modulates surfaces subtly, giving them the kind of polish we observed in the Agony. A greater sensitivity is apparent also in the figures, especially the Virgin Mary.


Deposition of Christ, Jesus taken down from the cross, Book of Hours, Duc de Berry

Click on the image at right for an enlargement of this page. This will show you the whole page as it appeared in the Duc de Berry's Book of Hours.






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Bible Study Guide: Paintings of Jesus taken down from the cross, Les Belles Heures, Duc du Barry

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