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Pietà
Crespi, Daniele
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Crespi, Daniele

Busto Arsizio, Lombardy, 1598 - Milan, 1630

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Pietà

1626. Oil on canvas

Pieta, 1626, was acquired by Charles II in 1689 at the auction of Gaspar de Haro y Guzmán, seventh Marquis of Carpio, who was the Spanish King’s ambassador to Rome and subsequently his viceroy in Naples. In Italy, de Haro patronised numerous artists, becoming the leading private Spanish collector in the second half of the seventeenth century. After the King acquired this work, it was sent to the Alcázar Palace in Madrid, where it survived the fire of 1734 that completely destroyed the building and part of the Royal Collection of paintings. It was later hung in the prayer chapel at the dressing room in Madrid’s new Royal Palace, and from there it entered the Museo del Prado.

This much admired work was rapidly imitated by Spanish painters, who made numerous copies and versions of it. The most outstanding of these was painted in 1647 for an altarpiece at the church of the convent of Augustine nuns in Monterrey, Salamanca. Its author, Jusepe de Ribera, must have seen the original work in Naples before it was sent to Spain. Two drawings of Christ are associated with Crespi’s painting: one, previously attributed to Jacopo Palma the younger (1548-1628), is at the Accademia Carrara di Belle Arti in Bergamo; the other is at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice. Some consider the first to be a preparatory study, while others think it was drawn after the original, with the drawing in Venice being the study.

The compact composition accentuates the lifeless body of Christ cradled by the Virgin, who turns her imploring gaze to heaven. A crying angel appears in the background behind Christ. This delicately crafted work is marked by the complicated torsion of its figures, which adds considerable pathos and reflects the artist’s debt to Giulio Cescare Procaccini (1574-1625), although without the latter’s emotional ambiguity. As is customary in Crespi’s works, the bodies occupy almost the entire canvas. The palette of this work is quite reduced, and the volumes are defined by the chiaroscuro that is the painting’s true subject and serves to emphasise its tragic qualities.

The work’s tenebrist effects are accentuated by the oxidation of its pigments and by an early restoration that resulted in an excess of light in the illuminated areas and an excessively dark background around the figures. Various technical studies have revealed brushstrokes, forms and colours that are no longer visible to the naked eye, including movement and detail in the folds in the Virgin’s robes. Analyses have also made it possible to see differences between the rendering of the main figures and that of the angel, which is depicted with less fluid brushstrokes.

Dominating the scene is the powerful light that shines on Jesus, especially on his arms, legs and the right profile of his body, creating a rectangular scheme that forcefully overpowers the diagonals. The vertical axis running through the Virgin’s face is accentuated by the profile of Christ’s body and contrasts with the horizontality of his left arm and legs, bringing a great sense of stability to the scene. Christ’s anatomy is perfectly depicted, with a clearly classicist approach, and must have been painted from life. Other works by Crespi have similar physiognomies, suggesting a common model, but none has the strength of the present painting.

In 2011 a restoration recovered this work’s original dimensions, which had been altered in the eighteenth century by the addition of strips to all four sides. Those additions had pushed the figures back into the middle ground, lessening their dramatic intensity.

Technical data

Inventory number
P000128
Author
Crespi, Daniele
Title
Pietà
Date
1626
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 154 cm.; Width: 128 cm.
Provenance
Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, “primera pieza de la obra nueva”, 1794, s.n.; Royal Palace, Madrid, “primera pieza de la obra nueva”, 1814-1818, s.n.).

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España. Vol. I, VI, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1776, pp. 48.

Inventario Palacio Nuevo., Madrid, 1794.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. 347,348.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso., Un dibujo de Danielle Crespi para la Piedad del Prado., ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE / ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE Y ARQUEOLOGIA, 38, 1965, pp. 332.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del siglo XVII: exposición conmemorativa del ciento cincuenta aniversario de la fundación del Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Madrid, 1970, pp. 202.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 167.

Bora, G., Il Seicento Lombardo. Saggi Introduttivi, Electa Editrice, Milan, 1973, pp. 54/ lám.153.

Ruggeri, Ugo, Galleria Dell'Accademia Di Venezia. Disegni Lombardi, Electa, Milan, 1982, pp. lám.132.

Annoni, A., La Lombardia Spagnola, Electa, Milan, 1984, pp. 292/ lám.329.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 176.

Fernández Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales. Carlos III. 1789-1790. Vol. I, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 33.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. 762.

Bettagno, Alessandro, El Museo del Prado, Fonds MercatorFundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. 288.

Caravaggio y la pintura realista europea, Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2005.

Daniele Crespi : un grande pittore del Seicento Lombardo, Silvana, Milán, 2006.

Rodriguez Rebollo, Angel, 'A propósito de Luca Giordano: Los Reales Sitios durante el reinado de Carlos II. Una Aproximación a través de los Inventarios. Pinturas religiosas.. Luca Giordano... por Carlos II...1686 y 1700... Inventario... pinturas salvadas.. Incendio del Alcazar...1734' En: Carlos II y el arte de su tiempo, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2014, pp. 107-155 [121].

Rodriguez Rebollo, Angel, 'A propósito de Luca Giordano: Los Reales Sitios durante el reinado de Carlos II. Una Aproximación a través de los Inventarios. Pinturas religiosas.. Luca Giordano... por Carlos II...1686 y 1700... Inventario... pinturas salvadas.. Incendio del Alcazar...1734' En: Carlos II y el arte de su tiempo, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2014, pp. 107-155 [125 nt.78].

Pancorbo, A., Daniele Crespi 'Pieta' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 142.

Plebani, Paolo, 'Le Seicento lombardo entre littérature artistique et collectionisme (XVII-XIX)' En:, La peinture en Lombardie au XVIIe siècle. La violence des passions et l'idéal de beauté, Silvana Editoriale, Ajaccio, 2014, pp. 209-227 [218 f.5].

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. s. n..
Primera Pieza de la Obra nueva / {244} Dos varas de alto y vara y dos tercias de ancho. Cristo muerto en los brazos de la Virgen. Daniel Crispio ... 30.000

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. s. n..
Primera pieza de la obra nueva / {21301} dos varas alto vara y dos tercias ancho - Cristo muerto en los brazos de la Virgen - Daniel Crispo

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 762.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 762.
Crespi (Daniel) / 762. Jesucristo difunto. / Descansa el divino cadaver en los brazos de su santisima madre; en el fondo se ve un angel llorando la muerte del Señor. / alto 6 pies, 3 pulg; ancho 5 pies, 2 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 145.
145.-Jesucristo difunto, sostenido por la Vírgen. / Alto 1,75. Ancho 1,44.-Lienzo. / La Madre dolorosa, arrodillada, y clavados los ojos con mortal angustia en el cielo, hosco y entenebrecido, procura levantar del suelo el divino cadáver para colocarlo en su amoroso regazo. Un ángel á su lado llora la muerte del Redentor. Luz reconcentrada en el cuerpo de Cristo y en el semblante de María.-Figuras de cuerpo entero y tamaño natural. / Colec. de Cárlos III, Pal. nuevo de Madrid.-Sala de Capellanes. / J. DE LA PINT.-F.L.

Exhibitions +

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
Melbourne
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Daniele Crespi
Busto Arsizio
29.04.2006 - 26.06.2006

Caravaggio y la pintura realista europea
Barcelona
06.10.2005 - 15.01.2006

Location +

Room 005 (On Display)

Expuesto

Displayed objects +

Domestic items

Update date: 15-11-2018 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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