Dead Christ in the Sepulcher, alabaster sculpture, Sicily, 17th century.
According to the Gospel, it is Joseph of Arimathea, one of the members of the Sanhedrin, who takes care of the burial of Jesus according to Jewish law, according to which a corpse cannot be left exposed at night. It is therefore he who places the body of Jesus in the tomb prepared for him and engraved in the rock.
The iconography of the dead Christ, born in the Byzantine era, has never been able to compete, in terms of distribution, that of the crucifixion or the deposition.
The rarity of this small sculpture lies precisely in the subject, the dead Christ inside his stone sepulcher.
To suggest the geographical location of this work as well as a certain diffusion of the iconographic subject in the south of Italy is above all the material used, an alabaster called "incarnated stone" because of its color between gray and rich in pink. veins reminiscent of the skin. The embodied stone was quarried in a small quarry near Trapani, in Sicily, and it was in Trapani that a group of qualified sculptors was born, famous for the sculpture "in soft and small", that is - say small jobs on soft materials like alabaster, coral, ivory and seashells.
It has been said of the incarnate stone that there was no other material capable of best expressing the languor of the members of Christ tormented by the passion and the crucifixion.
The figure of Christ is finely carved, traces of polychromy are visible; unfortunately part of the legs were lost, a clear sign of the weather. The sepulcher is carved in stone and gilded with gold leaf.
H Christ cm 11
Sepulcher cm 19 x 18
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