Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The Deposition

Folio 156v

Again two miniatures face each other in the manuscript: the Deposition by the Limbourg brothers and the Entombment by Jean Colombe.
The Deposition is perhaps the most beautiful of the colorful luminous cycle painted by the Limbourgs for the Hours of the Passion. The wide, clear sky against which the crosses rise gives the painting a special brilliancy that is heightened by the harmonious colors of the garments: the vermilion of the man on the ladder, the bright red of the kneeling Mary Magdalene, the pink of the turbaned Jew, and the dark blue of the Virgin.
While the thieves remain bound to their crosses in the same position as in the Death of Christ (folio 153r), three men on ladders lower the dead Christ. With a few variations the group recalls Simone Martini's Descent from the Cross (now in the Antwerp Museum), part of the same polyptych (executed during the artist's later years, c. 1339-44) as the Way to Calvary (Louvre).
Mary Magdalene, her long blonde hair spread over her robe, kneels at the foot of the Cross, which she embraces; the resemblance to Simone Martini's Thrust of the Spear (in the Antwerp Museum; also from the same polyptych) is even more striking here.
At the left the Virgin stands looking at the body of her Son with noble resignation: beside her, Saint John extends his arms toward Christ. At the right, watching with emotion, are holy women of the same type as the young women behind Mary (who is not unlike the Virgin here) in the Adoration of the Magi (folio 52r).
In contrast to the gravity of the scene are the carefree, laughing children already seen in preceding miniatures by the Limbourgs (folios 146v, 147r) and similar also to those painted by Simone Martini.

small image (19KB) --- large image (194KB) --- The dead Christ is lowered from the Cross (large) (250KB) --- The Virgin and Holy Women at the foot of the Cross (large) (267KB)

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