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Descent from the Cross
Peter Paul Rubens

In 1611 Rubens was commissioned to paint an altarpiece for Antwerp Cathedral. This work is likely to have been presented to the commissioning guild and the cathedral custodians for approval before work started on the large altarpiece. We see how Christ’s lifeless body is removed from the cross in a scene of intense grief, his mother Mary (in blue) reaching forward to touch her son.

Key facts
Artist Peter Paul Rubens
Artist dates 1577 - 1640
Full title Descent from the Cross
Date made 1611
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 115.2 × 76.2 cm
Acquisition credit The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Inventory number L1274
Location in Gallery Room 21
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