brush and black ink and grey wash on brown laid paper
Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III
Leonard Bramer, a widely traveled Dutch artist who spent six years in Rome, specialized in drawing series of both religious and literary narratives. Michiel Plomp identified this drawing as part of a “Life of Christ” series. The two-sided work depicts the dead body of Christ surrounded by mourning angels. The recto composition places the viewer at the feet of the Redeemer, significantly foreshortening the corpse’s legs and torso; the verso imagines the viewer behind the deceased’s head. The depth captured in these renderings is further enhanced by heavier brushwork and white chalk heightening in the foreground. The accentuated perspective resembles the compositions of Andrea Mantegna’s (ca. 1431--1506) “The Dead Christ and Three Mourners” in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, and Orazio Borgianni’s (ca. 1578--1616) in the Galleria Spada, Rome, which may have influenced Bramer’s composition.