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.