The Lamentation

Artist: Ludovico Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1555–1619 Bologna)

Date: ca. 1582

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 37 1/2 x 68 in. (95.3 x 172.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace and The Annenberg Foundation Gifts; Harris Brisbane Dick, Rogers, and Gwynne Andrews Funds; Pat and John Rosenwald, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Jon and Barbara Landau Gifts; Gift of Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family; and Victor Wilbour Memorial, Marquand, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment, and Charles B. Curtis Funds, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.68


This astonishing painting belonged to Alessandro Tanari, papal treasurer of Bologna. At the time of his death he owned eleven works by Ludovico Carracci. This canvas is a landmark of the Carracci reform of painting. The figure of Christ, based on a posed model, has been painted with a directness and lack of idealization that sixteenth-century critics found shocking. The figures of the Virgin, the three Maries, and Saint John are notably stylized by comparison with Christ. Experimentation with the means of representation rather than an abstract sense of harmony and beauty characterizes Ludovico’s early work.