Lamentation over the Dead Christ about 1503-1505 Raphael, Italian, 1483-1520
In this painting, Raphael arranged six figures in an easily read composition, each figure varied in action but united in sympathetic attention to the dead Christ. Saint John and the Virgin Mary tenderly support Christ in the center on a slightly elevated grassy mound. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who brought Christ down from the cross, stand behind to frame the group. At the right, Mary Magdalene kneels to kiss Christ's foot. Even in this early work, Raphael imbues his figures with the empathy and sweetness beloved in his later paintings.