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The Descent from the Cross

Unknownmid-11th century

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Joseph of Arimathea is seen taking hold of Christ’s dead body as Nicodemus frees it from the cross. Mary is holding her son’s right hand, her face approaching as if to kiss it. This round-arched relief panel, which was originally painted, was the centrepiece of a triptych with hinged wing panels. The typological models were tripartite ivory carvings from Byzantium, an excellent example of which is also in the Berlin collection (inv. no. 1578). This wooden panel, slightly larger than the Byzantine triptychs, is unique among artefacts surviving from the Early Romanesque period.

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