Friday, February 19, 2016


Angeles Ballester- Spain
Alena Antonova
A common theme in many religious paintings, the 'Lamentation Over the Dead Christ' is not a Biblical theme at all. It does not appear in any of the New Testament gospels, and only emerged as a devotional image during the 11th century. Famous Lamentations include those by Giotto , Botticelli, Carracci, and Rubens.

As the depiction of the Passion of Christ increased in complexity towards the end of the first millennium, a number of scenes were developed covering the period between the death of Jesus on the Cross and his being placed in his tomb.

The accounts in the Gospels concentrate on the roles of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, but specifically mention Mary and Mary Magdalene as present. The Deposition of Christ, where the body is being taken down from the cross, shown almost always in a vertical or diagonal position still off the ground, was the first scene to be developed, appearing first in late 9th century Byzantine art, and soon after in Ottonian miniatures. The bearing of the Body, showing Jesus' body being carried by Joseph, Nicodemus and sometimes others, initially was the image covering the whole period between Deposition and Entombment, and remained usual in the Byzantine world.

The Entombment of Jesus, showing the lowering of Christ's body into the tomb, was a Western innovation of the late 10th century; tombs cut horizontally into a rock face being unfamiliar in Western Europe, usually a stone sarcophagus or a tomb cut down into a flat rock surface is shown.

Jean Pollet - France

From these different images another type, the Lamentation itself, arose from the 11th century, always giving a more prominent position to Mary, who either holds the body, and later has it across her lap, or sometimes falls back in a state of collapse as Joseph and others hold the body. In a very early Byzantine depiction of the 11th century, a scene of this type is placed just outside the mouth of the tomb, but around the same time other images place the scene at the foot of the empty cross - in effect relocating it in both time (to before the bearing, laying-out and anointing of the body) as well as space. This became the standard scene in Western Gothic art, and even when the cross is subsequently seen less often, the landscape background is usually retained.

Most Lamentations focus on the passionate grief being expressed by the mourners.

Lyuba Yatskiv -Ukraine
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, "It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb, reveals God's great sabbath rest after the fulfillment of man's salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe" and that "Christ's stay in the tomb constitutes the real link between his passible state before Easter and his glorious and risen state today."
Paul Aizpiri - France

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