Skip to main content

Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece, The Deposition

Key facts
Full title The Deposition
Artist Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece
Artist dates active about 1470 to about 1510
Date made about 1500-5
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 74.9 × 47.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1981
Inventory number NG6470
Location Room 25
Collection Main Collection
The Deposition
Master of the Saint Bartholomew Altarpiece

The removal of Christ’s body from the Cross takes place in what appears to be a shallow gilded niche. The setting, with its stiff geometric decoration around the arch, may be intended to resemble contemporary tabernacle altarpieces, which included three-dimensional carvings set beneath a canopy and were sometimes decorated with this kind of elaborate tracery.

A nimble boy at the very top of the painting attempts to support Christ’s weight while clinging on to the arm of the Cross, hooking one ankle over it to prevent himself from falling headlong. Joseph of Arimathea, who had offered up his family tomb for Christ, supports his upper body, which is received by Nicodemus, who, according to the Gospels, believed that Christ was the Son of God. The Virgin Mary is slumped on the ground, supported by John the Evangelist, while Mary Magdalene clasps a tense, bony hand to her head in shock and grief.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo