The Lamentation

Mary wife of Cleophas and Mary Magde­lene are two of the fig­ures in the group com­pris­ing the “Lamen­ta­tion over the Dead Christ”

The Lamen­ta­tion of Christ in Death is a group of sev­en, life-size, ter­ra­cot­ta sculp­tures that is now thought to date to 1485, locat­ed in the Sanc­tu­ary of the church of San­ta Maria del­la Vita in the medieval mar­ket dis­trict of Bologna. Once paint­ed, the sculp­tures com­prise a dra­mat­ic work com­bin­ing North­ern Euro­pean “real­ism” in the expres­sions and action of the fig­ures at the foot of Christ’s cross with a clas­si­cal treat­ment of their flow­ing dress.

The sculp­tor who cre­at­ed this aston­ish­ing work is Nic­colò dell’Arca (‘Nico­las of the Tomb’). He was appar­ent­ly best known for the “wed­ding cake”  spire and fig­ures he added to the tomb of St Dominic in the Basil­i­ca San Domeni­co in Bologna in 1469. But the tomb — a carved sar­coph­a­gus sur­mount­ing an altar — is now over­whelmed in the Chapel of St Dominic by a mag­nif­i­cent baroque nave and dome with a fres­co of the “Glo­ry of St Dominic” by Gui­do Reni.

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