Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Giralamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Parmigianino) (Parma, Italy, 1/11/1503 – 8/24/1540, Casalmaggiore, Italy)


The Entombment

Creation Date

1529 - 1530


early 16th century


11 in. x 8 1/4 in. (28 cm. x 21 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

etching on paper

Credit Line

Gift of David P. Becker, Class of 1970, in honor of Katharine J. Watson


Public Domain

Accession Number

In this etching, considered Parmigianino’s masterpiece in the medium, Christ’s followers mourn his death as they prepare his body for burial. Parmigianino movingly captures the mourners’ varied responses with his faintly etched lines. The artist compresses eleven figures into the middle third of the print, heightening the emotional charge of the scene. St. Mary Magdalene gently lowers Christ’s frail, nude body onto the stone of unction (anointing), where it will be prepared for burial. Even as his form slumps in death, his slender ankles cross beautifully. Christ’s mother, the Virgin Mary, gazes longingly at her dead son as she faints, suggesting her role in the redemption of mankind in Roman Catholic doctrine. In typical Mannerist fashion, she exudes female grace, as seen in her youthful face, bared throat, and fashionably high-belted garment that emphasizes small, sharply defined breasts.

Additional Media

Additional Image 1990.63.jpg

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