The Lamentation

Luis de Morales Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 619

Morales mined a similar vein of visionary spirituality to El Greco, but often with a morbid sensibility characteristic of the most dramatic Spanish devotional imagery. Life drains from Christ’s body, which collapses from his mother’s arms, as the viewer joins the intimate moment of his death. Unlike El Greco’s rough paint handling, Morales perfected an impossibly soft, smooth surface that contrasts with the figures’ high emotional pitch. An almost obsessive interest in details (eyelashes, teardrops, rivulets of blood) follows Netherlandish painting traditions and lends a realism to this otherworldly vision.

The Lamentation, Luis de Morales (Spanish, Plasencia (?) 1510/11–1586 Alcántara), Oil on walnut

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