COECKE VAN AELST, Pieter
(b. 1502, Aelst, d. 1550, Bruxelles)
Triptych with the Lamentation-
Oil on oak panel, 100 x 142 cm
Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao
The Lamentation over the Dead Christ is an iconographic theme that had a great impact on European painting. In this scene that occupies the centre of the triptych, Christ's body is supported by Joseph of Arimathea, and the Virgin Mary is attended by St John in the presence of Mary Magdalene. The side wings again depict Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene, a figure inspired by the one portrayed by Rogier van der Weyden around 1435 in his Descent from the Cross kept in the Prado Museum.
In the background, a landscape extends into the wings of the triptych, in the central area of which we see the Golgotha with crosses and a few figures beside a precipitous peak. Branches of slender trees with little foliage can be seen on the lobes of the wings on the triptych - that has preserved its original frame, - a common feature in Coecke.