The Lamentation

Masters of Dirc van Delfabout 1405–1410

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

In this miniature of the Lamentation, Jesus' twisting body faces the viewer as his lifeless limbs extend in front of the frame on three sides. The tender assistance of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist draws attention to Jesus' wounds, stimulating the viewer's meditation on his sacrifice. His wounds are graphically rendered as open gashes dripping with blood. The saturated primary colors of the frame and draperies further set off Jesus' pale, emaciated body. Behind the figures, the pink cross picks up the faint, glowing hues of his suffering body. The full-page Lamentation appears within a sequence of images retelling the Passion story in this book of hours, the most popular type of private devotional manuscript of the later Middle Ages. The miniature of the Virgin and John mourning over the body of Jesus was particularly appropriate to a culture interested in devotional practices. Inspired by a burgeoning literature describing his torments, pious individuals increasingly focused their meditations on Jesus' suffering.


  • Title: The Lamentation
  • Creator: Masters of Dirc van Delf
  • Date Created: about 1405–1410
  • Location Created: Utrecht (probably), Netherlands
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 16.5 × 11.7 cm (6 1/2 × 4 5/8 in.)
  • Type: Folio
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 90.ML.139.68v
  • Culture: Dutch
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 40, fol. 68v
  • Creator Display Name: Masters of Dirc van Delf (Dutch, active about 1400 - about 1410)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app


Google apps