Christ’s dead body is lowered gently into his tomb. Mary Magdalene and two other women mourn him; Saint John the Evangelist, who was present at the Crucifixion, kneels beside the Virgin Mary, his back to the viewer. The other men are Joseph of Arimathea, who offered his family tomb for the burial, and Nicodemus, who helped remove Christ’s body from the Cross, a moment depicted in the distance to the right.
This picture was painted over the top of an engraving by the German artist Martin Schongauer. Made about 50 years after his death, it was an efficient way of creating a painting after one of his compositions. Schongauer played an important role in the development of engraving as an art form.
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