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Dosso Dossi, Lamentation over the Body of Christ

Key facts
Full title Lamentation over the Body of Christ
Artist Dosso Dossi
Artist dates about 1486 - 1542
Date made about 1517-18
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 36.5 × 30.5 cm
Acquisition credit Sir Claude Phillips Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG4032
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Lamentation over the Body of Christ
Dosso Dossi

The Three Marys mourn Christ after his crucifixion. The Virgin Mary kneels at Christ’s feet, her outstretched arms framed by her dark mantle. Christ’s crown of thorns lies on the ground, and beside it are the dice thrown by the soldiers who gambled for his clothes. Mary Magdalene kneels by Christ’s head, her arms raised. Mary Cleophas stands behind her clutching her head and tearing her hair with grief. The demonstrative gestures, distorted anatomy and colour contrasts are typical of Dosso’s early work.

In the distance, three crosses stand on the summit of Calvary against the sky. The cross on the left seems to have been Christ’s as the bodies of the two thieves still hang on the other crosses. The way that the figures on the hill behind the Virgin are merely suggested is a remarkable example of Dosso’s dramatic handling of paint, and adds to the expressiveness of the grieving figures.

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