The Deposition

Adriaen van Weselbetween 1447 - 1489

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The dead Christ lies digonally across his mother’s lap, and the other participants in the scene are grouped around them in a semicircle facing forward. This is the side from which the beholder views the piece and is presented with Christ’s broken body as an image of devotion and contemplation. The positions of the various figures in the relief, and their differing forms of contact by touch and eye, establish their differing relations with the dead Christ. As so often in crucifixion scenes, the repentant sinner Mary Magdalene, standing for all of humanity, occupies a distant position at Christ’s feet. Grief and tender emotion are forcefully captured in this relatively small format. Adriaen van Wesel drew inspiration from works by Rogier van der Weyden, such as the Deposition in the Prado in Madrid.

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