(b. ca. 1450, Cortona, d. 1523, Cortona)

Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Wood, 270 x 240 cm
Museo Diocesano, Cortona

The static pose of the figures, which are seen in a moment of frozen drama, reveals strong links with popular religious plays. An account of Vasari says that Signorelli wanted to represent in the figure of the naked Christ his own son, who died of plague in 1502.

The Lamentation, a work done entirely the artist alone, reveals all the poetry of the painter even in the context of an unrefined style which may seem declamatory, scenic and rhetorical. It strikes the observer with great power and energy on account of its dimensions, the liveliness of its colour and the strong statuesque attitude of the figures. The central characters are expressive and are painted in an attitude of pain. In the background two lively scenes contrast with the stillness of the central group of characters. In the middle, there is an unreal landscape, clear and clean, but interrupted by the tragic image of the blood flowing down the wood of the cross.