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Michelangelo, The Entombment (or Christ being carried to his Tomb)

Key facts
Full title The Entombment (or Christ being carried to his Tomb)
Artist Michelangelo
Artist dates 1475 - 1564
Date made about 1500-1
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 161.7 × 149.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1868
Inventory number NG790
Location Room 9
Collection Main Collection
The Entombment (or Christ being carried to his Tomb)

This is one of perhaps only three surviving panel paintings by the great Florentine artist Michelangelo. It shows Christ’s body being carried to his tomb. It was probably made for a funerary chapel in the church of S. Agostino, Rome – commissioned in 1500 and left unfinished when Michelangelo returned to Florence the following year.

Saint John the Evangelist may be the figure on the left carrying Christ’s body on strips of winding cloth helped by one of the Three Marys. They carry him up a staircase to his tomb in the rocks. The man behind Christ is either Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus. Another of the Three Marys, possibly Mary Magdalene, sits on the ground. The space left empty on the right was probably intended for the kneeling figure of the Virgin Mary. The other female figure on the right is probably another of the Three Marys, Mary Salome.

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