The Descent from the Cross by Rembrandt Van Rijn is a renowned masterpiece of the Baroque period. Created in 1634, it is an oil on canvas painting that depicts the moment when Christ’s body was being lowered from the cross. The piece can be seen today at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
While this piece is part of a series of religious scenes created by Rembrandt, “The Descent from the Cross” stands out for its unique figural composition and masterful use of light and shadow. Rembrandt was inspired by Rubens’ treatment of the same subject in Antwerp, but he added his own distinct style to create a scene that captures the solemnity and grief of this moment.
As with many paintings by Rembrandt, “The Descent from the Cross” showcases his extraordinary skill as both a painter and storyteller. His use of lighting shows Christ’s figure illuminated while highlighting those who are holding him up with shadows – this is characteristic to how he uses light to differentiate important figures within his pieces. Other notable paintings by Rembrandt include “Portrait of a Young Woman with a Fan,” “Belshazzar’s Feast,” and “The Denial of St Peter.”