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The Entombment
Andrea Busati
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Christ’s body has been taken down from the Cross and brought to be entombed by his grieving mourners. The Virgin Mary gently touches her son’s hair and face. Mary Magdalene, her long hair uncovered, takes Christ’s hand tenderly in her own. Beside her, one of the holy women present at the Crucifixion wipes her eyes. Saint John the Evangelist clasps his hands while Nicodemus raises his in despair. Only Joseph of Arimathea looks to see our reaction to Christ’s death, including us in the scene. In the distance, the three crosses still stand on Calvary. A fruiting fig grows from between the rocks of Christ’s cave-like tomb, symbolising his imminent resurrection.

The words on the piece of paper on the parapet have been translated as ‘Andrea Busati, disciple of Giovanni Bellini, made this’, but it is hard to read the second line. The figure group is derived from a Lamentation by Cima da Conegliano (Pushkin Museum, Moscow) which has been dated to about 1512.

Key facts
Artist Andrea Busati
Artist dates active 1503; probably died 1528
Full title The Entombment
Date made probably after 1512
Medium and support Oil on poplar
Dimensions 111.1 x 91.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Inscribed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by A.H. Layard, 1916
Inventory number NG3084
Location in Gallery Gallery A: Paintings 1250-1600
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