As his body is removed from the cross, Christ’s face slumps to the left and makes direct contact with St. Joseph of Arimathea. His lifeless arm dangles into the pronounced vertical void that divides him from the mourners below. Featured among the crowd are the Virgin Mary, who has fainted from grief, and Mary Magdalene who clutches the base of the cross in anguish.
Andrea Sabatini da Salerno changed southern Italian art by introducing Raphael’s style to Naples. An engraving designed by Raphael and executed by Marcantonio Raimondi inspired this painting, which comes from the Neapolitan church of Santa Teresa degli Scalzi. The emotional intensity of this work also suggests knowledge of the unconventional and expressive style of Rosso Fiorentiono, who was possibly in Naples between 1518–21