The Entombment (recto); Partial Study of the Entombment (verso)

Anthony van Dyck1617 - 1618

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Both sides of this sheet show scenes of the Entombment, probably in preparation for a painting that does not survive or was never completed. Anthony van Dyck based his composition on a painting by Titian, which he knew from a copy by Peter Paul Rubens. Van Dyck exchanged Titian's sweeping horizontal composition for a more tightly integrated, vertical format, allowing him to give greater prominence to the shrouded Virgin, who holds the arm of her dead son. The gracefully turning form of Saint John the Evangelist at the center links the two figures flanking Christ.

Van Dyck demonstrated his virtuosity by using a variety of techniques and media in his characteristically intense, heavily washed, and broadly drawn style. After sketching in black chalk, he drew the figures in pen and ink and went over much of the composition with strokes of dark brown wash. He also drew a rough framing line around the composition. The extremely fine pen lines left visible on Christ's torso lend it poignant beauty, while the wash adds drama and movement.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: The Entombment (recto); Partial Study of the Entombment (verso)
  • Creator: Anthony van Dyck
  • Date: 1617 - 1618
  • Physical Dimensions: 25.4 x 21.9 cm (10 x 8 5/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown and reddish wash, red and blue chalk, and white gouache heightening
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 85.GG.97
  • Markings: Markings: (Recto) at bottom right corner, collection markof N. A. Flinck (L.959).
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: (Verso) inscribed "N°29" in brown ink.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Classification: Drawings