collections
Mexican Colonial

Artist unknown, after Bartolome Carducho

Mexico 1554-1608
The Descent from the Cross 25.0006

Biblical accounts of Christ's crucifixion, deposition, burial and resurrection each mention a number of witnesses of the crucifixion. They include Mary the mother of Christ, Mary Magdelene, John the Apostle, the mother of the sons of Zebedee (disciples James and John), Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Mary the wife of Clephas, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus. Carducho's composition represents most of these figures. Christ's head slumps against John (the Disciple) who gazes at Mary, Christ's mother whose head is draped in white. Mary Magdalene attends to Christ's feet. Two older men assist to the right, one is Nicodemus, a secret follower, and the other is Joseph of Arimathea, who provided the tomb. This painting is a copy with slight variations of a Descent by Carducho, an Italian artist who settled in Spain and helped to introduce the tenebrist or "dark manner" style to Spanish audiences. The original hangs at the Prado in Madrid. Scholars believe that the painting was either a copy made in Carducho's studio and sold to a Mexican couple who went back to Mexico, or secondly that it traveled to Mexico without the donor portraits (at the bottom) awaiting a buyer and that the local likenesses were added after sale. Either way the wife's portrait suggests mestizo, or indigenous, Indian features.

 

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