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Dead Christ (lamentation over the dead Christ)

Painting, 1490-th , 81×66 cm

Description of the artwork «Dead Christ (lamentation over the dead Christ)»

Stored in Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera "Lamentation over the dead Christ" - not only the most famous painting of Andrea Mantegna, but also one of the most unusual in the world of painting.

What is its uniqueness?

First, in the composition. Heel of Christ touch the bottom edge of the picture, and the head almost rests on the top. In such placement of the body on the canvas there would be nothing special if it were located frontal figure standing or sitting. Another thing is to depict the body lying perpendicular to the horizontal axis. Mantegna had to resort to extremely sharp perspective reductions and choose a very low point. And he did it with consummate credibility: it affects it diligent study treatises on perspective, geometry and optics.

Second, the singularity of "Mourning the dead Christ" by Mantegna in naturalism. Despite his reverence to antiquity with its cult of heroes and the ideal of the handsome, the Savior of Mantegna depicts a deliberate commoner. This is indicated by his angular face, wide peasant Breasts, calloused work-worn feet. Likewise the virgin Mary in the painting "Madonna and child, with John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene" endowed with a beautiful but pock-marked and lazy face of a peasant woman. Even more clearly this trend is in the picture "Christ carrying the cross".

Obviously this stubborn refusal to aristocratical "King of the Jews" was the principled position of the artist. Thus, Andrea, of Padua the son of a woodcutter, brings Jesus, the son of the carpenter of Bethlehem, to the orphans and the poor – who, in fact, Christ (in the time of Mantegna completely monopolized by the Vatican) came.

The passion of "Lamentation over the dead Christ"

It is known that this painting was very dear Mantegna and was kept in his house until the death of the artist. It is assumed, the only preserved to our time the "lamentation over the dead Christ" is the author's copy and the original is lost.

Already today, the real battle for the painting unfolded between Milan and Mantua. In 2006-m year, when we celebrated the 500 years since his death, the centre of the celebrations was supposed to be of Mantua, where Mantegna lived and worked most of his life and where he is buried. However, the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan refused to provide "the Lamentation over the dead Christ" for the Mantua exhibition. There was a major scandal, which was forced to solve the then Minister of culture of Italy Francesco Rutelli. In the result of Milan, the experts managed to prove that tempera on canvas Mantegna's too fragile and would not survive transport, even in nearby Mantua. However, we cannot exclude that the point here is not the preservation of a masterpiece, and the notorious cultural rivalry between Northern Italian cities.

Visual quote from Mantegna in the film by Andrei Zvyagintsev

The picture continues to haunt the minds now.

For example, for 10 minutes of the film Andrei Zvyagintsev's "the Return", we can see direct quotation "Mourning the dead Christ". Sons-teenagers first see the sleeping father, out of nowhere, it arose in their lives. He lies on the bed in the same position and filmed from the same low angle, which says Christ Mantegna. Zvyagintsev puts the film-a parable, and this explicit quote, obviously, establishes a parallel between father and God, both harsh and unyielding, both interfering in a person's life, when you least expect them, both dictate to the sons of his will and both to the end is not understandable.

Author: Anna Yesterday
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Technique: Tempera

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1490-th

Size: 81×66 cm

Artwork in selections: 25 selections

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