The Entombment

Italian, Faenza
about 1500

Object Place: Europe, Faenza, Italy


29.21 x 57.15 cm (11 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Polychromed terracotta

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





Polychromed terracotta. The dead Christ laid in the Tomb by Joseph of Arimathia and Nicodemus. Behind the Tomb against a flat background simulating the rock stand two Disciples and the three Marys mourning.

This group represents Christ being laid in the tomb by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, while the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalen, St. John, and two other women look on in grief. The simplicity, the contemporary dress of the two men who support Christ, and the realistic painting give the scene an immediacy that would have encouraged viewers to imagine they, too, were present. This would likely have been placed on or below an altar in a chapel.


Richard von Kaufmann (b. 1849 - d. 1908), Berlin; December 4-5, 1917, Kaufmann sale, Cassirer and Helbing, Berlin, lot 263, sold for 25,000 M to Count Sierstorpff, Eltville-am-Rhein, Germany [see note 1]. 1960, Wilhelm Henrich, Frankfurt; sold by Henrich to the MFA for $500. (Accession Date: September 21, 1960)

[1] According to a letter from Wilhelm Henrich to Hanns Swarzenski of the MFA (May 31, 1960), the Entombment came from the Kaufmann and Sirstorpf [sic] collections. In an interoffice memorandum from Hanns Swarzenski to Perry Rathbone (September 21, 1960), the sculpture is said to have been "acquired at the [Kaufmann] collection sale by Count Sierstorpf." Swarzenski implies that Henrich had owned the sculpture for several years, having seen it at his gallery "on my first visit after the war."

Credit Line

Helen and Alice Colburn Fund