Christ in the Arms of Two Angels
Juan de Juanes ( Spanish, 1510 - 1579 )
Christ’s lifeless body has just come off the cross and is being gently lowered into a sarcophagus by two angels. Juan de Juanes was one of the leading artists in 16th century Valencia and is thought to have studied in Italy. In this painting he combined two distinct artistic sensibilities: the elegant anatomy of Christ and the idealised angels inspired by Raphael and Italian art with the Spanish propensity for heightening pain and anguish. The marks of the flagellation are still present all over Christ’s idealised body, with large swathes of coagulated blood dripping from his wounds and thorns digging deeply into his forehead. To the right, the Virgin Mary, her eyes red with tears, heightens the pathos of the scene. This work would have originally served as an altarpiece, particularly well suited as a backdrop to the performance of the Eucharist, when wine and bread – the blood and the body of Christ – would have been presented to the congregation.
Julien Domercq, Label text (1962.1), 2020