The Lamentation

Joseph of Arimathea supports Christ’s body as John the Evangelist wipes away a tear and places a consoling hand on the Virgin’s shoulder. Mary Magdalene clasps her hands in prayer. In the background, three crosses refer to Christ’s recent Crucifixion, and a man preparing a tomb alludes to his future entombment. The painting may originally have formed part of a polyptych, an arrangement of four or more panels, telling the story of Christ’s life. By including a Gothic church, Provoost set these scriptural events in the fifteenth century.

Jan Provoost

Netherlandish, c. 1465–1529

The Lamentation

c. 1490

Oil on panel

16 5/8 x 12 15/16 in. (42.3 x 32.9 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1944