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The LamentationEnlarge image

The Lamentation, c. 1510

Quinten Massys, Workshop of
Flemish, 1466 - 1530
oil on oak
68 x 137 cm
Purchased 1949
National Gallery of Canada (no. 4942)

Christ is being prepared for his burial, his body the focus for our devotion. His followers are stopped in mid-action, the better for us to observe them; they pose and carry out their actions with a pronounced clarity. As our gaze alights on one figure after another, we can mentally set them in motion, completing their purposeful gestures. Their actions - preparing to anoint Christ’s corpse or preserving the Crown of Thorns - draw us into the scene, expanding our experience of it beyond simple grief. Supported by St. John, the Virgin prays over her son, offering a guide to viewers of the painting. Previously attributed to Massys, this work is typical of those made under his direction. Frame: running moulding, polychromed Flanders or Germany, 16th century

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