Leon KossoffThe Lamentation over the Dead Christ (3) 1998

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Artwork details

Leon Kossoff (born 1926)
The Lamentation over the Dead Christ (3)
Date 1998
MediumEtching on paper
Acquisition Presented by Peter and Liz Goulds 1999
Not on display


This print is one of many etchings executed by Leon Kossoff in response to, and literally in the presence of, oil paintings by old masters; in this case The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, about 1635, by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-69), owned by the National Gallery, London. This print was never published as an edition; Tate owns the second trial proof.

Rembrandt’s depiction of the Lamentation is from a traditional story, although not one described in the Bible. It shows Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and others, weeping over His body after the Crucifixion. Christ has been laid on the ground having been taken down from His cross while the two thieves who were crucified alongside him remain suspended from theirs beneath an ominously dark sky. Kossoff’s response to this painting is grey, flat and linear. The three crosses, two of which remain occupied, form the main vertical element of the composition to balance the horizontal spread of mourners around the body of the dead Christ… (read more)

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