Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ
Lamentation of Christ

early 16th century

Material
Wood

Collection
Dom Museum Wien

Inv.Nr.
I/49

Wood
Relief
Medieval art

On view

Query
Reproduction request
Loan request

Photo: Leni Deinhardstein, Lisa Rastl, Dom Museum Wien
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Lamentation of Christ

The wood relief shows all the usual personell of a Lamentation of the Christ in the specific dramatic style of the late middle ages.

Until its restoration in the 1980s, this wood relief was completely overpainted in black to make it look like cast in bronze. Today it presents itself in its original colors, though most of the garments’ gold and silver paint is lost. The work renders a scene from Christ’s Passion: “lamentation of Christ” refers to the mourners gathered around the corpse after it has been taken down from the cross. In the center we see Mary cradling her son on her lap, similar to a Pietà. With her head bowed and a sad expression she grasps his left wrist. To her left we see the beardless John the Evangelist with a book as his attribute and Joseph of Arimathea who removed the body from the cross. Three women have gathered to the right. Because of the jar she holds, the one in the middle can be identified as Mary Magdalene, who anointed Jesus’ feet or wanted to embalm his corpse. The two others are probably Mary of Clopas and Salome. All these figures are traditionally part of the “lamentation of Christ” motif.

In front of this wall of figures lies the corpse of Jesus Christ: the body extends almost across the entire length, presenting itself in profile (feet) or front view (face). Several traces of blood run across his body, the gaping wound on his side drawing special attention.

Dating from late Gothic times, the figures are caught in motion and endowed with dramatic facial expressions. Elements like the woman with the green mantle who seems to stand farther back or the figure overcome with grief to the right who covers her face with a veil and her right hand lend the composition an atmosphere of tension. The nearly identical postures of John and Mary Magdalene catch the viewer’s eye: both incline their heads to the right and hold their attributes. The relief seems to have been part of a winged altarpiece.