The Lamentation

Domenichino (Domenico Zampieri) (Italian, Bologna 1581–1641 Naples)
Oil on copper
20 7/8 x 14 3/4 in. (53 x 37.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Walter and Leonore Annenberg Acquisitions Endowment Fund, European Paintings Funds and funds from various donors; Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch and The Reed Foundation Gifts; Gwynne Andrews Fund; Elaine Rosenberg Gift; The Edward Joseph Gallagher III Memorial Collection, Edward J. Gallagher Jr. Bequest; Marquand Fund; Museum Purchase Fund; Peter Tcherepnine Gift; The Camille M. Lownds Fund; Stephenson Family Foundation Gift; Ruth and Victoria Blumka Fund; Earl Kiely Bequest; and The Morse G. Dial Foundation, 2005 CINOA Prize and Diane Carol Brandt Gifts, 2008
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 623
This beautifully preserved picture was painted by Domenichino a year after he moved from his native Bologna to Rome. The composition repeats that of a large altarpiece designed by Annibale Carracci for the church of San Francesco a Ripa, Rome (now in the Louvre, Paris) and this explains why, in the past, the picture was ascribed to Annibale rather than to Domenichino. Annibale greatly admired the talent of his young assistant, who in this picture outstripped his master in creating a mood of restrained but poignant grief. The turbaned figure of Joseph of Arimathea with an urn was Domenichino's personal interpolation.
Inscription: Dated (left, on stone ledge): M.DCIII
George Aufrere, London (by 1775–d. 1801); his widow, Mrs. George (Arabella Bate) Aufrere, London (1801–d. 1804); her son-in-law, Charles Anderson-Pelham, 1st Baron Yarborough, London (1804–d. 1823); Charles Anderson-Pelham, 1st Earl of Yarborough, London (1823–d. 1846); Earls of Yarborough, London (1846–75); Charles Alfred Worsley Anderson-Pelham, 4th Earl of Yarborough, London (1875–1929; sale, Christie's, London, July 12, 1929, no. 18, as by Annibale Carracci, for £73.10 to Turner); [Percy Moore Turner, London, from 1929]; [Colnaghi, London; sold to Pelham]; Marcus Herbert Pelham, 6th Earl of Yarborough, Brocklesby Hall, Habrough, Lincolnshire (until d. 1966); John Edward Pelham, 7th Earl of Yarborough, Brocklesby Hall (1966–d. 1991); Charles John Pelham, 8th Earl of Yarborough, Brocklesby Hall (1991–2007; sale, Christie's, London, July 5, 2007, no. 40, to Naumann); [Otto Naumann, New York, 2007–8; sold to MMA]
London. British Institution. July 1832, no. 22 (as "Dead Christ with the Marys," by Annibale Carracci, lent by Lord Yarborough).

London. British Institution. June 1849, no. 6 (as "The Dead Christ with the Maries," by Annibale Carracci, lent by the Earl of Yarborough).

Rome. Palazzo Venezia. "Domenichino, 1581–1641," October 10, 1996–January 14, 1997, no. 7 (as "Pietà," by Domenichino, lent by a private collection, Habrough).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.

Brownlow Cecil, 9th Earl of Exeter. note written in copy of Orlandi's "Abecedario Pittorico," Venice, 1753. 1775 [Burghley House, Stamford, England; published in Christie's 2007], as "Mary Supported by Angels, holding the body of Our Saviour on her knee, two infant angels at His feet, Jos: of Aramathea with a vause of oinment looking, by An: Caracci, at G. Aufrères Esq. in Chelsea. A capital performance of the master, 1775".

manuscript addition to "Catalogue of Mr. Aufrere's Pictures at Chelsea," [London?], 1790. [1790 or later] [published in Christie's 2007], as in the dining room, "Annibale Carache—The Virgin and the Body of our Saviour with Mary Magdalen Joseph of Arimathea & 2 Boys at the feet of Christ".

[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 2, p. 87, lists it in Lord Yarborough's collection, as "A Pietà; a carefully finished cabinet picture," by Annibale Carracci.

[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain. London, 1857, p. 66, as by Annibale Carracci, referring to it as a cabinet-size example on wood [sic] of the full-size composition; as in the earl's London house.

Donald Posner. Annibale Carracci: A Study in the Reform of Italian Painting around 1590. New York, 1971, vol. 2, p. 61, under no. 136, pl. 136b, as in the collection of the Earl of Yarborough, formerly with P. M. Turner; identifies it as a copy after Annibale Carracci's Pietà in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, proposing that the MMA picture records the original appearance of the Louvre work, in which the figure of Joseph of Arimathea was later replaced with Saint Francis; believes that the Louvre painting was commissioned in about 1602, brought to a partial state of completion, and then reworked and completed in 1607; bases this dating on the style of the work, on the date of 1603 appearing on the MMA picture, and on two letters, one dated 1607, that mention the altarpiece being installed in the Mattei chapel in San Francesco a Ripa, Rome (see Notes).

Gianfranco Malafarina in L'opera completa di Annibale Carracci. Milan, 1976, p. 122, under no. 128, fig. 128(1).

Richard E. Spear. Domenichino. New Haven, 1982, vol. 1, pp. 10, 49, 131, 175, no. 9; vol. 2, pl. 10, attributes it to Domenichino on stylistic grounds, comparing it with his "Christ at the Column" (now Barbara Piasecka Johnson collection, Lawrenceville, N.J.) and "Susanna and the Elders" (Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome), both also dated 1603; adds that the date in Roman numerals inscribed on the work also points to Domenichino; follows Posner (1971) in calling it a copy after the Louvre painting, which he dates 1602–7 and believes originally included a figure of Joseph of Arimathea in place of Saint Francis; ascribes workshop assistance, but not that of Domenichino, to Carracci's altarpiece in the Louvre; notes that Domenichino also made a lost copy after Carracci's Pietà of 1604 now in the National Gallery, London, and discusses differences between the two Carracci pictures and the two by Domenichino; provides provenance information.

Stéphane Loire. École italienne, XVIIe siècle. Vol. 1, Bologne. Paris, 1996, pp. 133–34, 136, fig. 53, states that x-rays of the Louvre picture reveal that the figure of Saint Francis is original to the composition (see Posner 1971).

Richard E. Spear in Domenichino, 1581–1641. Exh. cat., Palazzo Venezia, Rome. Milan, 1996, pp. 380, 382–83, 540, no. 7, ill. (color), having formerly ruled out Domenichino's assistance on Carracci's altarpiece in the Louvre (see Spear 1982), now suggests that the inclusion of the Carracci in the present exhibition provides the opportunity to reconsider that opinion.

Almamaria Mignosi Tantillo in Domenichino, 1581–1641. Exh. cat., Palazzo Venezia, Rome. Milan, 1996, pp. 27, 54 n. 32.

Elizabeth Cropper in The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 9, New York, 1996, p. 88.

Stéphane Loire. "Rome: Domenichino." Burlington Magazine 139 (March 1997), p. 221, calls it "almost tender when compared with its model . . . by Annibale".

Giulio Bora and Dominique Radrizzani in Cinq siècles de dessins: collections du Musée Jenisch. Exh. cat., Musée Jenisch. Vevey, 1997, pp. 36, 39, fig. 1, publish Carracci's compositional drawing, which they date 1602, for his painting in the Louvre, referring to Domenichino's picture as a copy after the drawing rather than the painting; suggest that Domenichino replaced the figure of Saint Francis with that of Joseph of Arimathea because the latter fit better within the iconographical context of the work.

Anne Summerscale. Malvasia's Life of the Carracci: Commentary and Translation. University Park, Pa., 2000, p. 241 n. 345, mentions it as a copy after the Louvre painting.

D. Stephen Pepper. "Caravaggio, Carracci and the Cerasi Chapel." Studi di storia dell'arte in onore di Denis Mahon. Ed. Maria Grazia Bernardini et al. Milan, 2000, p. 121 n. 18, agrees with Bora and Radrizzani (1997) that Domenichino's picture was copied from Carracci's compositional drawing in Vevey, not from the painting in the Louvre; states that Bora and Radrizzani suggest that Domenichino replaced Saint Francis with Joseph of Arimathea in order to make his picture more saleable, adding that both he and Denis Mahon, with whom he has discussed the matter, agree with this explanation.

Almamaria Mignosi Tantillo. "La Cappella Cerasi: vicende di una decorazione." Caravaggio Carracci Maderno: la Cappella Cerasi in Santa Maria del Popolo a Roma. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2001, p. 74 n. 18, questions the idea that it was copied from Carracci's compositional drawing in Vevey, stating that the colors and details of finish seem to depend from Carracci's Louvre painting.

Denis Mahon in Il San Giovanni Battista ritrovato: la tradizione classica in Annibale Carracci e in Caravaggio. Exh. cat., Musei Capitolini, Rome. Milan, 2001, pp. 21, 26 n. 16.

Clovis Whitfield. "Landscape Paintings and Drawings by Antonio Carracci." Paragone 57 (November 2006), p. 3, pl. 2, mentions it as a copy after Carracci's painting in the Louvre; believes that the date on the letter referring to the altarpiece (see Loire 1996 and Notes) has been mistranscribed and actually reads 1602 rather than 1607.

Important Old Master & British Pictures Including Property from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker. Christie's, London. July 5, 2007, pp. 18–23, no. 40, ill. in color (overall and details, and overall on cover), provides extensive provenance details.

Everett Fahy in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2007–2008." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 66 (Fall 2008), p. 21, ill. (color).

Clare Robertson. The Invention of Annibale Carracci. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2008, p. 129 n. 157, agrees with Spear (1982) that it records Annibale's original composition.

Keith Christiansen in Philippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977–2008. New York, 2009, p. 37.

Roberto Zapperi. "Annibale Carracci e Odoardo Farnese." Bollettino d'arte 95 (October–December 2010), p. 84.

Old Master & British Paintings: Evening Sale. Christie's, London. July 8, 2014, p. 146, under no. 40.

This composition repeats that of an altarpiece by Annibale Carracci and his workshop (Musée du Louvre, Paris), with the figure of Joseph of Arimathea replacing that of Saint Francis depicted in Carracci's work. Bora and Radrizzani (1997) and Pepper (2000) believe that Domenichino worked from Carracci's compositional drawing (Musée Jenisch, Vevey), rather than from the altarpiece itself.

The Louvre painting is usually dated about 1602–7, the earlier year based on stylistic grounds and the later one on two letters (one dated) referring to the altarpiece and its installation in the church of San Francesco a Ripa, Rome. Whitfield (2006), however, believes that the date on the letter has been mistranscribed and actually reads 1602 rather than 1607. See Loire (1996) for a detailed discussion of this issue.