(b. ca. 1386, Firenze, d. 1466, Firenze)

Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Bronze, 32 x 42 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This unusual bronze shows the dead Christ, supported by his mother Mary and encircled by other mourners including St John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene.

This group is clearly only a fragment. It is unclear what the original purpose of the small, very dramatic relief was. The fact that the background of the relief is missing has given rise to the suggestion that this was a trial piece for the briefly planned bronze portals for the cathedral in Siena. Unfortunately, these were never carried out. The gaps between the figures appear to have been a deliberate feature of the design and may have been intended to allow a background of coloured stone to show through.

The surface has been taken to various levels of treatment, enhancing the raw emotion evident in the scene. This perhaps suggests that it was intended as a finished work for private devotion.

A comparison between the rendering of the drapery in the Lamentation over the Dead Christ and that of the Chellini Madonna, would suggest that this bronze - whose chronology is disputed by scholars - belongs to the same period.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.