RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)

Descent from the Cross (centre panel)

Oil on panel, 421 x 311 cm
O.-L. Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp

The centre panel of the great triptych shows the Descent from the Cross against a dark sky. Several men - Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, St John and two servants - carefully lower the body of Christ in a brilliant white shroud. They are assisted by several women, including Jesus' mother. Christ's foot rests on the shoulder of Mary Magdalene, who dried his feet with her hair.