Deposition from the Cross – Galleria dell’Accademia – Florence

The work was originally embedded in the large wooden altar machine commissioned to Baccio d’Agnolo around 1500 for the high altar of the church of the Santissima Annunziata, in Florence; the structure had to have two sides in the shape of a parallelepiped, with two larger panels, facing respectively the nave and the choir and two minor panels on the sides.

In 1502 the Servites friars commissioned the paintings to insert in the wooden structure to Filippino Lippi, who unfortunately died two years later and was therefore unable to complete the task; Perugino took over the work and finished the altarpieces already begun by the Florentine painter, also executing other panels for a total of six or eight paintings, finishing his work in November 1507.

The whole structure was dismantled not even forty years later, in 1546, probably because it wasn’t much appreciated by the city of Florence, even if the Deposition, with its shades and dramatic atmosphere, hint at Leonardo’s sfumato technique.

In the upper part, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and another helper are supporting Christ’s dead body in the moment of the deposition from the cross.

Just below them, the Pious Women support Mary in sorrow from the scene, while the Magdalene is in prayer and Saint John, from behind, holds the legs of Christ; an apostle observes the scene.

The painting is preserved at the Galleria dell’Accademia, in Florence.