The Lamentation (1538) by Lucas Cranach the Elder

The Lamentation - Lucas Cranach the Elder - 1538

Artwork Information

TitleThe Lamentation
ArtistLucas Cranach the Elder
MediumOil on panel
Dimensions23 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationMuseum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston
Location Created Germany
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About The Lamentation

The Lamentation over the Dead Body of Christ, an oil painting completed by a follower of Lucas Cranach the Elder during the 1530s, is regarded as one of the most prized possessions to have been looted from Polish collections during World War II. This German Renaissance masterpiece portrays Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary in mourning. Art historians consider it to be one of Cranach’s most significant creations.

Lucas Cranach the Elder was a renowned German artist known for his portraits and works in woodcut and engraving. The creation of this religious art piece followed his distinguished trademark style involving ornamental details, which he depicts in various forms such as dressing, interior decoration, and landscapes.

The painting features Jesus Christ lying dead on the ground with his heart pierced by a spear. The Virgin Mary weeps over him along with other mourners depicted at His feet. The vibrant colors used symbolize hope despite despair while highlighting significant emotions such as anguish, pain, love, mercy, and devotion towards God.

Although located at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston today, this artwork has undergone extensive discussion through different interpretations due to its cultural importance. It has intrinsic value for Catholics who revere respite from suffering through their faith while providing insight into modern times’ thoughts towards mortality throughout history.

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