“Mourning of Christ”, Sandro Botticelli – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Mourning of Christ – Sandro Botticelli. 1490-1492. Tempera on the panel. One hundred forty x two hundred seven cm
The innovation of Sandro Botticelli, one of the most prominent figures of the European Renaissance, lies not only in a completely different interpretation of the plot, but also in the development of the “technical arsenal”. The artist began to use more advanced paints and therefore the color of the paintings became richer, and the outlines of the figures acquired a sophisticated shape. Only by his work one can notice: the early Renaissance boldly enters its perfect stage – the period of the high Renaissance. It was at this time that the painting “Mourning of Christ” was created, surprising with its realism and compositional structure.

Religious subjects in those days were customarily portrayed in accordance with certain canons. Spirituality, sublimity, humility, austerity – these are the characteristic features of works on biblical themes. But Botticelli took a big step towards psychology, “humanizing” his heroes. This picture is vivid proof of this.

Perhaps Botticelli himself wanted to achieve such an effect, or maybe knowing what will happen next – Jesus will rise and ascend to heaven, subconsciously playing with us, “reviving” the Savior. The painting is considered one of the strongest in the biography of the painter, despite the fact that “Spring” and “The Birth of Venus” are more famous, since Botticelli’s language has never been more eloquent and meaningful.
This central group is surrounded by Peter, Paul, Jerome. They are sad, but rather restrained.

According to its emotional message, this is not a picture-story, but a picture-mood. Feelings, namely grief, loss, sorrow, dominate here over the narrative. The viewer involuntarily gets involved in the scene before him, and in fact suffers along with the Saints.

One cannot but notice how successfully Botticelli built a multi-figure composition. This is a kind of pyramid, which is perceived as a whole. The top of the pyramid is the heartbroken face of the mother.

Jerome has a stone in his hand, which he holds to his chest, Paul is depicted with a sword hinting at his martyr fate. All the heroes, despite their “talking” faces, seemed to freeze from grief and suffering. The face of Christ is tired and humble; by the viewer he is perceived as sleeping rather than dead. The picture unfolds after the execution of Christ. The crucified Martyr is surrounded by close people – here are the disciples-apostles, mother, Mary Magdalena. John and Mary hold a lifeless body, one of the apostles presses the head of Jesus, Magdalena holds the Savior’s legs, examining the wounds with unbearable torment on her face.