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Deposition from the Cross by Rosso Fiorentino


The Mannerist masterpiece is conserved at the Pinacoteca and Civic Museum in Volterra

The Volterra "Deposition from the Cross" by Giovan Battista di Jacopo, known as Rosso Fiorentino, is a masterpiece of Florentine Mannerism, painted in 1521 and today held in the Pinacoteca and Civic Museum in Volterra.

In his "Deposition", Rosso Fiorentino achieved drama thanks to the angular arrangement of the figures and objects, which creates a jagged effect, for the unrestrained movement of some of the figures and for the intense, reddish colours that stand out against the uniformly-coloured sky.

The contortion of the bodies and faces adds to the extreme exasperation: the face of the old man looking down from atop the cross is tense like a mask. The asymmetrical arrangement of the ladders elicits a violent motion, highlighted by the instability of the ladders as the men remove Christ’s body from the cross, while the light vividly slices into the scene from the right, creating a harsh chiaroscuro-like impact.

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