DANTI, Vincenzo
(b. 1530, Perugia, d. 1576, Perugia)

Descent from the Cross

c. 1560
Bronze, 45 x 48 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

The relief is nearly square in format, and Danti draws attention to its borders with elements of the narrative. Nearly in the round, the foreground figures' awkward, off-balance poses are accentuated to convey in a physical way the wrenching force of emotion. By contrast, the two thieves crucified with Christ nearly merge into the background, the crosses only incised on the surface. It is easy to understand these lines as drawn through the soft wax model from which the bronze was cast.

The frame is not original, a later collector wanted to frame this relief, perceiving the work as an analogue to the gallery picture, independent of any larger ensemble.