The Lamentation

Ludovico Carracci Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

Direct observation of bodies—often in deliberately challenging and sometimes unflattering poses and points of view—was a hallmark of the academy led by the Carracci family in 1580s Bologna. Combining scholarly discourse with an emphasis on drawing from the live model, their academy was a crucible for a generation of artists who would pioneer Baroque painting in Rome. The lack of idealization in Ludovico’s depiction of Christ shocked sixteenth-century critics; the Virgin Mary’s head is thrown back in an experimental pose that results in the most powerful face among the stylized frieze of mourners. Artists frequently reused canvases, but in this unusual instance, Ludovico painted on three pieces of tablecloth stitched together.

The Lamentation, Ludovico Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1555–1619 Bologna), Oil on canvas

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