About this artwork

This powerful, highly emotional and richly coloured painting was originally the central panel of an altarpiece, which was flanked by wings in which St George and St Christopher were depicted. Christ's body at the left has been brought down from the cross at the top right. The prominent ointment jar in the foreground belongs to Mary Magdalene, who expresses her sorrow in a dramatic, traditional gesture alongside the other holy figures. Two of the donors wear the gold insiginia of the chivalric and religious Order of the Swan which had been founded in 1440 by the Elector of Brandenburg. The Order was particularly popular in Franconia, where the artist worked.