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The Descent from the Cross

  • 'The Descent from the Cross' © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

    'The Descent from the Cross' © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

     
  

Category

Painting

Date

Around 1435

Artist

Roger van der Weyden

Cultural background

Flemish School

Original title

El Descendimiento
Prado Museum
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid

Weyden's quintessential masterpiece that stands out because of its rich materials (Mary's blue cloak is very pure lapis lazuli), its careful composition and its large size, with almost life-size figures.

The scene shows the passion that the Virgin experiments because of the suffering and death of her Son.

Because the space is not very deep, with golden wood, Weyden makes his figures look like polychrome sculptures. The set of parallel diagonal lines that the bodies of Christ and Mary create stand out and impact on the gestures with which each character expresses their pain. The skull, according to tradition, represents Adam, the first man and the first one to be redeemed by the resurrection of Christ.

The painting was commissioned by the Brotherhood of Los Ballesteros de Lovaina. It was purchased by Mary of Hungary in the 16th century and then was handed down to her nephew Philip II. He placed it in the chapel in El Pardo Palace until it was given to El Escorial in 1574.
 

Details of the work

Origin
National Heritage

Object
Painting

Dimensions
220 cm x 262 cm

Technique
Oil

Material
Board

  

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