Lamentation Beneath the Cross

Artist: Adam Lenckhart (German, Würzburg 1610–1661 Vienna)

Date: 1632

Culture: Austrian, carved in Italy

Medium: Ivory

Dimensions: Overall: 10 7/8 × 5 3/4 in. (27.6 × 14.6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Miniature

Credit Line: Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923

Accession Number: 24.80.87


The fine perspectival gradations of relief create a painterly effect of distant background while the foreground is filled with vivid detail-the finely carved crown of thorns, the carefully observed leafy ferns, the bent nails removed from holes clearly indicated on the cross. Lenckhart often employed such detail to great expressive effect; here, the precise carving of the strands of hair curtaining the face of the Magdalen draws our gaze to her grief-stricken form.