Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

Great Hours of Anne of Brittany The Lamentation over the dead Christ, f. 2v

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The Lamentation over the dead Christ, f. 2v

Our Lady’s eyes are red from her weeping and sorrow at the death of her Son. She wears the garb usual in the late Middle Ages: a purple tunic and a blue cloak. This is how master Bourdichon always depicted her in the Great Hours of Anne of Brittany, although the artist does discreetly vary Mary’s age slightly in the different paintings. In the Annunciation and the Visitation scenes Mary looks almost like a young novice. The slight change in her face seen in the Nativity scene becomes more obvious in the Crucifixion and in this dramatic image of the Lamentation over Christ’s body.
On the left, Saint John tries to wrap Christ in the shroud, whilst Mary Magdalene on the right has already opened the pot of ointment. More holy women are behind them and in the background on the right is Joseph of Arimathea holding the pot of sacred blood he has collected: the Holy Grail of the Arthurian tales. In the foreground are three nails and the crown of thorns, and in the background, the beam of the cross flanked by two ladders.
The composition as a whole dates back to meditative pietàs and the liturgy.

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