The Entombment of Christ (Caravaggio)
Overview
 
The Entombment of Christ (1602–1603) is a painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It was painted for Santa Maria in Vallicella
Santa Maria in Vallicella
Santa Maria in Vallicella, also called Chiesa Nuova, is a church in Rome, Italy, which today faces onto the main thoroughfare of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele...

, a church built for the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri is a congregation of Catholic priests and lay-brothers who live together in a community bound together by no formal vows but only with the bond of charity. They are commonly referred to as Oratorians...

, and adjacent to the buildings of the order. A copy of the painting is now in the chapel.

The painting was originally commissioned by Alessandro Vittrice
Alessandro Vittrice
Alessandro Vittrice commissioned Caravaggio in 1601 to paint The Entombment of Christ as an altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella....

 in 1601, and completed by two years later. Now it is among the treasures of the Vatican Pinacoteca.

While there is much in this representation that was revolutionary for Caravaggio's time, it is not clear that the highly naturalistic reconstruction of a gospel event in this painting would have been antithetical to the vividly faithful Oratorians, who sought to relive experiences through prayer.
Encyclopedia
The Entombment of Christ (1602–1603) is a painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It was painted for Santa Maria in Vallicella
Santa Maria in Vallicella
Santa Maria in Vallicella, also called Chiesa Nuova, is a church in Rome, Italy, which today faces onto the main thoroughfare of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele...

, a church built for the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri is a congregation of Catholic priests and lay-brothers who live together in a community bound together by no formal vows but only with the bond of charity. They are commonly referred to as Oratorians...

, and adjacent to the buildings of the order. A copy of the painting is now in the chapel.

The painting was originally commissioned by Alessandro Vittrice
Alessandro Vittrice
Alessandro Vittrice commissioned Caravaggio in 1601 to paint The Entombment of Christ as an altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella....

 in 1601, and completed by two years later. Now it is among the treasures of the Vatican Pinacoteca.

While there is much in this representation that was revolutionary for Caravaggio's time, it is not clear that the highly naturalistic reconstruction of a gospel event in this painting would have been antithetical to the vividly faithful Oratorians, who sought to relive experiences through prayer. Even near contemporary critics of Caravaggio and his style, such as Baglione and Bellori, admired this painting.

This counter-reformation
Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

 painting – with a diagonal cascade of mourners and cadaver-bearers descending to the limp, dead Christ and the bare stone – is not a moment of transfiguration, but of mourning. As the viewer's eye descends from the gloom there is, too, a descent from the hysteria of Mary of Cleophas through subdued emotion to death as the final emotional silencing. Unlike the gored post-crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 in morbid Spanish
Spanish art
Spanish art is the visual art of Spain, and that of Spanish artists worldwide. Whilst an important contributor to Western art and producing many famous and influential artists Spanish art has often had distinctive characteristics and been assessed...

 displays, Italian Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

s die generally bloodlessly, and slump in a geometrically challenging display. As if emphasizing the dead Christ's inability to feel pain, a hand enters the wound at his side. His body is one of a muscled, veined, thick-limbed laborer rather than the usual, bony-thin depiction.

While faces are important in painting generally, in Caravaggio it is important always to note where the arms are pointing. Skyward in The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus
Conversion on the Way to Damascus
The Conversion on the Way to Damascus is a masterpiece by Caravaggio, painted in 1601 for the Cerasi Chapel of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in Rome. Across the chapel is a second Caravaggio painting depicting the inverted Crucifixion of St. Peter...

, towards Levi in The Calling of Saint Matthew
The Calling of St Matthew (Caravaggio)
The Calling of Saint Matthew is a masterpiece by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, depicting the Calling of Matthew. It was completed in 1599-1600 for the Contarelli Chapel in the church of the French congregation, San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome...

. Here, the dead God's fallen arm and immaculate shroud touch stone; the grieving Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

 gesticulates to Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

. In some ways, that was the message of Christ: God come to earth, and mankind reconciled with the heavens. As usual, even with his works of highest devotion, Caravaggio never fails to ground himself. Tradition held that the Virgin Mary be depicted as eternally young, but here Caravaggio paints the Virgin as an old woman. The figure of the Virgin Mary is also partially obscured; we see her in the blue robe and her arms are held out to her side, imitating the line of the stone they stand upon. Her right hand hovers above his head as if she is reaching out to touch him.

A related work by Caravaggio is Death of the Virgin
Death of the Virgin (Caravaggio)
The Death of the Virgin is a painting completed by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. It is a near contemporary with the Madonna with Saint Anne now at the Galleria Borghese...

 
(1606), now at the Louvre Museum.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK