The Entombment of Christ

The Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio

The Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio was produced in 17th Century and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Renaissance Art movement. The work can be viewed now at Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): death, spirituality


The Entombment of Christ is a painting produced between 1603 and 1604 by Italian artist Caravaggio.

The Entombment of Christ is one of the most admired altarpieces of Caravaggio. There is a copy of the painting now in the chapel and the original is in Vatican Pinacoteca.

In this painting, two men carry the body of Christ identified as John the Evangelist, only by his youthful appearance and red cloak which supports the dead Christ on his right knee and with his right arm, inadvertently opening the wound. Nicodemus, the other man grasps the knees of Christ in his arms with his feet planted at the edge of the slab. Here, the Christ fallen arm, immaculate shroud touch stone and the grieving Mary of Cleophas gesticulates to Heaven. Many still believe that was the message of Christ that God come to earth and mankind reconciled with the heavens. Caravaggio balances position of the arms, faces, the dignified position of the body, the stable position and also the unstable exertions of the bearers.

The Entombment of Christ was probably planned earlier but begun in 1602-1603. The chapel in which the Entombment of Christ was to be hung was dedicated to the Pieta, Pietro Vittrice was the founder of it, a close friend of Pope Gregory XIII (who issued a bull confirming the formation of a new society called the Oratory and granting it the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella) and also close follower of Filippo Neri.

The painting is not a moment of transfiguration but a moment of mourning. Entombment of Christ is not a burial because the body of Christ is being laid on a stone slab and not being lowered on to a tomb.
In 1797, The painting ‘The Entombment of Christ’ was taken to Paris for the Musee Napoleon and then it was returned to Rome and installed in the Vatican in 1816.

The work can be viewed at Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City


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