January 14, 2022

Niccolò dell’Arca, Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, c.1463

First full week back at work feels, as encapsulated by these extraordinary terracotta sculptures by the Italian early Renaissance artist Niccolò dell’Arca. Dell’Arca was famed for his “intensely expressionistic use of realism combined with southern Classicism and a plastic naturalism typical of the Burgundian School” (Britannica). All these influences combined to astonishing effect in this seven-figure work, Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, which dates back to the 1460s. Made for the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, a Baroque church in Bologna where it can still be seen today, it is arguably one of the most searing depictions of pain and horror in art history.

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