UNKNOWN MASTER, French
(late 14th century)
The Small Circular Pietàc. 1390
Panel, diameter 22,7 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Despite its small dimensions this work, with its vivid colours, with its golds, blues, reds, greens and purples, produces a monumental effect. The tortured figure of Christ, wearing the crown of thorns, is seated on the Virgin's knees. The figures surrounding them, St Mary Magdalen, St John the Evangelist, St Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, are imbued with a sense of profound sorrow and a muted awe, for the agony and ecstasy of passionate emotion find no place in French mediaeval art.