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The Entombment
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Attributed to Masters of Dirc van Delf
Dutch, Utrecht, about 1405 - 1410
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment

6 1/2 x 4 5/8 in.
MS. 40, FOL. 79V

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In this miniature of the Entombment, the Virgin, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, their eyes expressing sadness, gently lay Jesus' body into the tomb. The Virgin contemplates her son's face and the meaning of his death, on which the viewer is also called to meditate. The figures' broad forms extend beyond the confines of the painted frame, blurring the distinction between the miniature's and the viewer's space. The viewer is thus invited into the scene, especially by the figure on the right, who turns in toward Jesus in a position analogous to that of the observer.

While the artist created naturalistic, three-dimensional figures and a seemingly weighty sculpted sarcophagus, he still placed them before a traditional flat pattern of small, colored squares or diamonds, an abstract design called a diapered ground.