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“Lamentation,” North Italian or Bolognese school, oil on metal, c. 1575-1650.

The scene of Christ mourned by the Virgin, saints, and angels after the crucifixion is variously called the “Deposition,” “Pieta” or “Lamentation.”  In this painting, the body of the dead Christ is displayed almost vertically, front and center, to stimulate the viewer’s own piety and prayers for salvation. The grief-stricken Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are seen on the left. The image is painted on a copper metal plate, a technique that was invented in the later sixteenth century in Bologna and died out around 1650. The copper was more durable than canvas and produced a shiny, glistening effect.

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