Scipione Pulzone (Il Gaetano) (Italian, Roman, active by 1569, died 1598)
Oil on canvas; 114 x 68 in. (289.6 x 172.7 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, in memory of Terence Cardinal Cooke, 1984 (1984.74)
This picture was painted for the chapel of the Passion of Christ in the Jesuit church of the Gesù in Rome. Its forthright style was intended to complement the grand but austere interior space, later the focus of a complete redecoration in the Baroque style. Pulzone's painting is conceived not as a narrative but as a meditation on the Entombment of Christ, in line with Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. Details such as the tears of the Virgin, the crown of thorns held by Saint John, and the pallor of Christ's body are presented to the viewer for contemplation. Pulzone's brand of tempered realism made him an important exponent of the Counter-Reformation.