Carlo Crivelli Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 606

There is still disbelief in the eyes of the Virgin Mary as she embraces Christ’s lifeless body, a sob escaping her parted lips. Saint John the Evangelist mirrors her wailing grief, and Mary Magdalen absorbs the cruelty of Christ’s wounds, holding up his hand in front of the illusionistically rendered stone of his tomb. The gold background contrasts with the detailed figures, pushing them forward so that the viewer must confront their emotions and appreciate the intricacy of Crivelli’s technique, in which each strand of hair is rendered with care. This painting, a remarkable study of human sadness, originally belonged to an elaborate Gothic altarpiece widely considered Crivelli’s masterpiece (National Gallery, London).

Pietà, Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venice (?), active by 1457–died 1494/95 Ascoli Piceno), Tempera on wood, gold ground

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