Christ's friends have taken his body down from the cross and have brought it to his mother. She sinks to her knees, supported in her grief by St John, and accompanied by two holy women. The scene is one of horror and desolation, expressed through such details as the pale, skull-like faces and the barren landscape. The Dutch painter of this 'Lamentation' is not known by name, but his work is so distinctive in style that a group of paintings can be firmly attributed to him. Of these, the 'Lamentation' is perhaps his masterpiece. Many Dutch paintings were destroyed in the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, and so surviving works such as this are all the more precious.