Attributed to Jacopo dal PONTE, known as Jacopo BASSANO (Bassano del Grappa, circa 1510 - Bassano del Grappa, 1592)
Deposition of Christ
Painting on Paragon
39 x 33 cm
Considered one of the masters of the Venetian Golden Age, along with Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese, Bassano is a mannerist painter who combines in his art a form of naturalism, even a certain classicism that tends to set him apart. He ran a studio with his sons Francesco, Giambattista, Leandro and Girolamo, with whom he collaborated, which sometimes made it difficult to assign him to a particular role. They mainly painted religious paintings for private use. This work is probably part of a serial production with numerous variants on the same theme, including a large-format work kept in the Louvre, dated around 1580-1582, probably one of the first versions. The flame at the centre of the composition, the only source of light, is characteristic of the nocturnal scenes created by the artist after 1575. Christ is depicted lying at the foot of the cross, surrounded to the left by Nicodemus with his hands on the ladder, and Joseph of Arimathea wrapping his body, Saint Mary Magdalene, the Virgin extending her hands towards her son, a holy woman, and Saint John in retreat in the shadows. The powerful chiaroscuro models the bodies that seem to emerge from the darkness, producing a dramatic effect. The main difference with the Louvre's work is its vertical format, which gives more importance to the cross, erected in almost all its height in the centre of the composition. Finally, the paragonal support bears witness to the enthusiasm of Italian painters and commissioners for oil painting on stone during the Renaissance. Indeed, it appears around 1530 in Italy, following the Paragon, a debate on the superiority of sculpture over painting, particularly for its durability. The use of the Paragon, a stone, black, makes it possible to create nocturnal scenes of great intensity using the darkness of the stone itself.