Russian icon | Lamentation of Christ

Icon: Lamentation of Christ B-8

Russia, late 16th century
Tempera on panel, 21 x 16.5 cm

Provenance:
Private collection, Rome, since 1970’s
Morsink Icon Gallery, Amsterdam
ALR Ref. No.: S00153429

Bibliography:
Unpublished
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The Lamentation of Christ is set in the rocky landscape of Mount Golgotha. A large cross flanked by two angels stands in the centre of the composition. In the foreground, the dead Christ is laid down on the anointing stone, with a winding sheet to wrap the body lying in front of it. To the left, the Virgin Mary sits down, gently caressing Christ’s head on her lap. Behind her are the three mourning Mary’s. To the right, St John the Evangelist and Joseph of Arimethea bow deeply over Christ’s body, while the latter is holding Christ’s legs. Behind, Nicodemus raises both hands in prayer. 

In Byzantine art the subject of the Lamentation became popular from the 9th century onwards. The subject is relatively rare on Russian icons. Only a few examples are known. In western art the scene was usually included in medieval cycles of the Life or the Passion of Christ, between the Crucifixion and the Entombment of Christ.