The Descent from the Cross, or Deposition, is the last act in the human drama of Christ's mission on earth, in which Joseph of Arimathea obtains Pontius Pilate's permission to take Christ's body down from the Cross and bury it. The pathos of the scene has captured the imagination of artists from every age, and this book presents a chronological sequence of over 100 versions of the event selected from masterpieces of all periods by the greatest artists.
Like its companion volumes, Descent presents an extended meditation on a single theme that has many facets: the universal human tragedy of loss, grief and the shattering of all hope; the promise, as yet unknown to the participants, of renewed hope and eternal life. This complex web of emotions has inspired a rich heritage of interpretation, and the images presented here form a deeply moving and ever-changing study of grief and resignation, of human and divine drama, of individual physiognomy and character, of ultimate hope and salvation.
The concentration on a single theme opens up an intense and deepened awareness of the richness of human emotion and the expressive resources of the artist. Each image reveals a new insight, and the profoundest mysteries of religion, human experience and artistic creation are explored here in a concentrated form.