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Since Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio became the personal painter of Cardinal Francesco del Monte, he began to receive many orders, including on religious subjects. One of these paintings, entitled “The Position in the Sepulcher,” he painted for the Roman temple of Santa Maria della Valicella. She is considered one of the best in the work of the artist.
In this picture, as in other canvases of Caravaggio with a religious plot, there is a contrast of light and darkness characteristic of the artist. Against the background of gloomy and impenetrable darkness, a group of people stands - in the foreground, John and Nicodemus hold the body of Christ, with the intention of lowering it into a stone tomb. Behind them are the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and another Mary.
Young Maria froze in a silent cry, raising her hands to the sky, her hair sticking out in different directions - apparently, she tore them in moaning. The head of Mary Magdalene mournfully lowered, he hides his tears, worried about the loss. The mother of Jesus does not cry or scream, she silently looks at the face of her son, knowing that she will never see him again. The faces of men are concentrated and mournful.
John, frowning, peers into the inanimate face of his Master, and the strong and heavy Nikodim looks down at the bottom of the tomb, tensing under the weight of the body of Jesus. The body of Christ is devoid of any corpse hues; it is pale, as if it had lost all the colors of life.
The composition "Positions in the Coffin" is built so that the viewer looking at it unwittingly becomes part of the picture. The stone tomb, in which they want to put Christ, is turned to one of the angles to the viewer - this angle, as it were, breaks a thin barrier between the world of the picture and ordinary reality. The impression is reinforced by the sharp elbow of Jesus holding the feet of Nicodemus. It seems that they want to convey the immovable body of Christ to someone who is looking at the picture.
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