The DepositionThe Deposition is the name given to a representation of Christ being brought down from (the descent from) the cross upon which he had been crucified. The incident is referred to in all of the Gospels (Matthew 27: 57-58; Mark 15: 42-46; Luke 23: 52-54; John 19: 38-40) and is followed by the Lamentation over the Dead Christ and then the Entombment.
Joseph of Arimathaea gained Pilate's consent to remove the body. He is usually shown performing this act and/or wrapping the body in cloth with Nicodemus. Below the cross the swooning Virgin with her companions are depicted with Saint John. Representations can vary considerably; they can be of great complexity and include a number of other figures and objects, notably the Magdalen and the Instruments of the Passion.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN