Descent from the Cross, Duc de Berry paintings
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The face of Mary as Jesus' body is taken down from the cross

Paintings of Jesus' descent from the cross

Crucifixion, by the Russian painter Nicolai Ge

The Death 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

The route to Calvary 

Route to Calvary

Aerial view of Jerusalem showing the site of the Temple

Maps of 
Jerusalem & Galilee

Model of the inner courts of the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus

Buildings Jesus knew

Herod, Pontius Pilate, Judas

Herod, Pilate, Judas







      Jesus taken down from the cross

Jesus' descent from the cross, Book of Hours, Duc de Berry

The Belles Heures of the Duc de Berry includes no less than three scenes of Christ on the cross. One of these is a painting showing Jesus' family and disciples lowering the body from the cross. Christ is mourned by his companions and his body is displayed. The composition is thus a precursor of the famous Lamentation by Roger van der Weyden in the Prado (click on the image below for an enlargement of this famous painting).

van der Weyden, Christ taken down from the crossBut the artist here replaced realistic items such as ladders with the slender converging diagonals of the lance and reed. They seem to provide support to the two symmetrical angels, who though quite substantial lack lower limbs and end in floating draperies.

The corpse is not easily held upright, although the figures press against it as buttresses.

The man at the right (Nicodemus?) beneath Christ's arm tries hard, but Joseph of Arimathea remains rather detached. Perhaps that is why in the end the painter, confused about this man's role, made him an oddly mannered figure.

Jesus is lowered from the cross, Book of Hours, Duc de BerryThe two angels are related in color to figures diagonally opposite in the compact principal group. The four grieving angels in the quatrefoils of the richly decorated frame (click on the image at right for an enlargement of this page) are also arranged diagonally in pairs, two with blue tunics on red backgrounds and two in pink on blue. Similarly two of them pray, and two lament.







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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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