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(Christian) Bernard Rode (1725-1797) was a major German painter, draughtsman and etcher. He was a pupil of Antoine Pesne at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. In 1748 he went to Paris and later studied in Rome and Venice. In 1754 he returned to Berlin where he founded a private art school. In 1757 he became a member and in 1782/83 director the Academy of Arts in Berlin. One of his most famous and ambitious works are the altar paintings for the Marienkirche, Berlin, consecrated in 1762; poignantly, Rode was a local parishioner. In Bridget Heal's recent book <em>A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany </em>(2017), she claims Rode 'owed more to the Enlightenment than to Counter-Reformation'. He mainly painted historical, allegorical and religious pictures and created master drawings for illustrated books and for etchings in the style of the Rococo period and early Neo-Classicism, while never going to the austere extremes of the latter. 

This quite large etching represents the tragic and grim theme of the Entombment of Christ - its low viewpoint looking upwards is dramatically evocative of a tomb's eye view and shows Rode's technical prowess. Christ is lying on a cloth, surrounded by the usual cast of characters - the weeping Three Maries with his mother, a monumental, highly classically profiled figure, appropriately dominant. Closer to him, indeed lowering his body, are St John the Evangelist and St Joseph of Arimathea. The print is after a painting by Rode in the lower church of Frankfurt (Oder), as is explained in the caption immediately below the plate.

Sources:

Bridget Heal, <em>A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany </em>(Oxford, 2017)

British Museum Collection online, https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1477718&partId=1&searchText= rode+entombment&page=1

Web Gallery of Art, 'Bernhard Rode', https://www.wga.hu/bio_m/r/rode/biograph.html

Details

  • Title: Entombment of Christ
  • Creator: Bernhard Rode (artist) | Bernhard Rode (etcher)
  • Physical Dimensions: plate: 120mm (width), 168mm (height)
  • Provenance: Purchased 1910
  • Rights: No Known Copyright Restrictions
  • External Link: Te Papa Collections Online
  • Support: paper
  • Registration ID: 1910-0001-1/42-80

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