The Dead Christ Mourned ('The Three Maries')

The incident is not described in the Gospels, but the lamentation over the dead Christ had become a traditional subject for depiction; unusually, this picture shows only women mourners. Christ rests on the Virgin's lap. Saint Mary Magdalene is probably the prominent kneeling figure on the right. Apart from the Virgin, the other women are likely to be Mary, the mother of James, and Mary Salome.

Painted about 1604, this is one of Annibale Carracci's most powerful and emotionally-charged works. It is comparable to Annibale's 'Pietà' of about 1603 (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum).

An underlying composition, possibly a 'Temptation of Saint Anthony Abbot', conceived in an upright format, is revealed by X-radiographs.

Key facts

Artist dates
1560 - 1609
Full title
The Dead Christ Mourned ('The Three Maries')
Date made
about 1604
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
92.8 x 103.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by Rosalind Countess of Carlisle, 1913
Inventory number
Location in Gallery