The Lamentation for Jesus, Duc de Berry paintings
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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





Mary, John & the women mourn for Jesus

Lamentation over the dead Christ, Book of Hours, Duc de Berry

The subject of the Lamentation, with its vision of the naked, wounded corpse of Christ stretched on the ground below the cross, provided an unequaled opportunity to show the impact of Christ's death upon his mother, his close relatives, and his friends. Entombment of Christ, Simone Martini

The de Berry miniature above is apparently the first example of this scene by a French painter. But a few years earlier the scene had been painted by an Italian illuminator into the Brussels Hours of the Duke of Berry (click on the thumbnail at right for an enlargement of this painting by Simone Martini).

Although the artist of  the Duc de Berry's Book of Hours did not adopt the composition of that miniature, his imposing figures and geometric design show again the depth of his understanding of Italian painting. He was no doubt impressed by the mourner who bends forward and tears her hair in Simone Martiniís panel of the Entombment, now in Berlin but then probably at Dijon, the Burgundian capital which he certainly visited. His own painting has a similar figure.

The artist of the Book of Hours was impressed also by the movement of Simoneís St. John, who covers his grief-stricken face with his mantle (click on the image below to see an enlargement of this painting). Here, St. John maintains the idea of concealment by laying a haLamentation over the body of Jesus, Book of Hours, Duc de Berry, largend on his faceóan equally unusual and expressive gesture. It may once again have been the Brussels Hours that suggested to the artist the dramatic foreshortened figure of the Magdalen.

The more dramatic Magdalen in the Belles Heures kisses the feet, not a hand, of Christ. The foreshortening, too, is more drastic.

Artists of this period seem to have had no qualms about showing Jesus naked - as in fact he would have been when crucified. Only later did the audience for paintings of this subject insist that Jesus be modestly covered.

Notice the woman who lays a comforting hand on the Virgin's head. The significance of her solicitude is increased by her size and her bearing - a remarkably majestic figure.

The Virgin alongside seems small. Eyes closed, she slumps, without hope, letting the arm of Christ lie limply in her left hand, while with her right she has raised her mantle as if to wipe the tears. Entirely drained of vitality, she yet remains the central figure. Hers is the strongest color, and the movements turn about her like the spokes of a wheel. It is to her that the companions (except the Magdalen} turn.

The body of Christ, partially rolled away, is left largely alone.


Roger van der Weyden, Virgin and St John mourning the death of Jesus

Click on the image above for an enlargement of
Rogier van der Weyden's painting of Mary at the crucifixion

Lamentation of the Virgin, Rohan

Rohan's Lamentation of the Virgin


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Bible Study Guide: Paintings of Mary, John and the disciples of Jesus lamenting over his crucified body
Les Belles Heures, Duc du Barry

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