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The Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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Christ’s body has just been taken down from the Cross, and his family and followers mourn over him – a moment known as The Lamentation. Rembrandt laboured over this small monochrome picture. He began by making an oil sketch on paper, then tore out a section and mounted the rest on canvas. He continued the design on the canvas at the lower right, before someone else extended the picture by adding strips to the top and bottom. The picture is very likely a study for an etching that Rembrandt never executed. One of the clues for this is in the positioning of the two men who were crucified alongside Christ, the so-called Good Thief and Bad Thief. Here, the Bad Thief appears to Christ’s right, which was traditionally the position reserved for the Good Thief.

The National Gallery, London



The Lamentation over the Dead Christ


about 1635


Oil on paper and pieces of canvas, mounted onto oak


H 31.9 x W 26.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by Sir George Beaumont, 1823/8

Work type



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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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