Lamentation over the Dead Christ – National Gallery of Ireland – Dublin

The panel, dating back to about 1495, depicts the mourning over the dead Christ: the Virgin is sitting exactly in the center of the composition, and she holds up her son’s lifeless body, holding his neck with her right hand while gently caresses one of his thigh with the left one; Jesus’ head rests on Saint John the Evangelist’s shoulder, and on the opposite side Saint Mary Magdalene supports the legs of Christ on her knees.
Nicodemus, on the left, looks up to the sky as he crosses his hands to the chest as a sign of prayer, while on the right Joseph of Arimathea is moved by the scene.
The composition is framed in the background by a loggia, characterized by round arches supported by quadrangular pillars: some traces of the coat of arms of Charles Gouffier, courtier of Francesco I and first known owner of the painting, are still visible just above the square capitals. On the low wall behind the Madonna it is also possible to read, in golden letters, the signature of the master: “Petrus Perusinus Pinxit“.
Beyond the loggia, happening in the hilly landscape typical of Perugino’s production, some tiny unidentifiable figures move away from the place of the Crucifixion on Golgotha.
The work is preserved at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.
Perugino, Piety, 1495 ca, panel, 171,5x169,5 cm, Dublino, National Gallery of Ireland, Purchased, 1931 (Lane Fund) NGI.942 National Gallery of Ireland Collection Photo © National Gallery of Ireland