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christ’s body cross john

The Deposition (or Descent from the Cross) is briefly described in all four Gospels. It is the episode where *Christ’s dead body was taken down from the *cross by *Joseph of Arimathaea and (according to *John) *Nicodemus. The subject appears in western and Byzantine manuscript illustrations of the ninth century and occurs very frequently thereafter in a variety of media, tending to increase in complexity and detail through the centuries.

The early images depict simply Nicodemus removing the nails from Christ’s hands or feet and Joseph of Arimathaea supporting the body as it falls from the cross. Sometimes Nicodemus is absent and Joseph alone supports the body. The image is often linked with the episodes that follow in the narrative: the bearing of Christ’s body to the tomb, the *Entombment, and the *Lamentation. The subject is so closely related to images of the *Crucifixion that figures often Page 68  present in Crucifixion scenes (e.g., the Virgin *Mary and Saint *John the Evangelist) also appear, standing, as traditional, on either side of the cross (Mary on the left, John on the right). Mary may take one of Christ’s hands and express her grief by pressing it to her face. John may incline his head in grief or grasp Christ’s other hand.

From the eleventh century onward, more figures were added; *angels may hover above the scene or assist with removing the body from the cross, * Ecclesia and *Synagogue may be included as well as the grieving *Mary Magdalene, additional mourners, crowds of onlookers, and Roman soldiers.

DePreist, James(1936–) - Conductor, Chronology,   [next] [back] Dental Photography - Technical Equipment, Camera body, Macro lens, Flash, Other Considerations, Standard Views

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