The Entombment of Christ


The Entombment of Christ, is considered one of Caravaggio’s greatest masterpieces, was commissioned by Girolamo Vittrice for his family chapel in S. Maria in Vallicella (Chiesa Nuova) in Rome. In 1797 it was included in the group of works transferred to Paris in execution of the Treaty of Tolentino. After its return in 1817 it became part of Pius VII’s Pinacoteca. 

Caravaggio did not really portray the Burial or the Deposition in the traditional way, inasmuch as Christ is not shown at the moment when he is laid in the tomb, but rather when, in the presence of the holy women, he is laid by Nicodemus and John on the Anointing Stone, that is the stone with which the sepulchre will be closed. Around the body of Christ are the Virgin, Mary Magdalene, John, Nicodemus and Mary of Cleophas, who raises her arms and eyes to heaven in a gesture of high dramatic tension.

Caravaggio, who arrived in Rome in 1592, was the protagonist of a real artistic revolution as regards the way of treating subjects and the use of colour and light, and was certainly the most important personage of the “realist” trend of seventeenth century painting.

Although this image looks complex getting people into position was surprisingly straight forward.  As always when you study the painting its not perfect but I believe that we captured the mood and feel of this image really well.  It was necessary for Joe (Jesus) to be perched on a hidden chair but considering the time taken to capture the image two people would have required medical attention if they had held Jesus during the extent of the shoot.  Interesting Joe Haydon was with us to make a video of what we were doing but got roped into to being part of the image so had to strip of in front of a group of strangers.  Of course they are not strangers now.

Featuring: Christ Joe Haydon, Pat Dunscombe, Jo Brossman, Anna Chouler

Zen Blumenfeld

Our interpretation

The original painting