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The Descent from the Cross
Machuca, Pedro
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Machuca, Pedro

Toledo, 1490 - Granada, 1550

The Descent from the Cross

1547. Oil on panel, 141 x 128 cm.

Christ´s body is taken from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. On the ground, Mary Magdalene extends her arms to him while the Virgin weeps sorrowfully. The depiction of these customary figures is rounded out by the presence of a soldier with renaissance armor and two children, one with a handkerchief tied around his head. These realistic details give Machuca´s scene a special character. This work reveals the eclecticism of Machuca´s painting, which includes elements that recall Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo or Rosso Fiorentino, although other elements correspond to his concession to the naturalism so in vogue with his Spanish clientele. The painter uses numerous scorzos and contrasts of light, provoking a certain visual violence that is also evident in the bright colors of the figures that stand out against the black background. The frame has a cartouche that confirms the panel´s origin as part of an altarpiece for the church of San Juan de Azogue in Medina del Campo: “This altarpiece was commissioned by Inés del Castillo / Wife of García Rodríguez de Montalvo, Councilor of this town. Completed in the year 1547”.


Technical data

Inventory number
Machuca, Pedro
The Descent from the Cross
High/Height: 141 cm.; Width: 128 cm.
Gourgeois Frères, Paris, 1870; baron M. de Herzog, Budapest; Dimitri Angelupulo; colletion of Palermo, early century XX; acquired by the Patronado of the Prado Museum, 1961.

Bibliography +

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, El Museo del Prado. Reformas y adquisiciones (1960-1962), Goya, 50-51, 1962, pp. 71-72.

Webster, Mary, Pinturas de viejos maestros (Colnaghi), Goya, 46, 1962, pp. 306-307.

Griseri, Andreina, Berruguete e MAchuca dopo il viaggio italiano, Paragone, 179, 1964, pp. 3-19 [4-5].

Gallotti Minola, M., Manieristi Spagnoli Nel Museo del Prado. Separata, Istituto Italiano D'Arti Grafiche, Bergamo, 1964, pp. 53.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Principales adquisiciones de los últimos diez años: 1958-1968, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1969, pp. 35-36.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 380-381.

Longhi, Roberto, Edizione delle Opere Complete di Roberto Longhi., Sansoni, Florencia, 1979, pp. 83.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 382-383.


Ávila, Ana, Notas sobre el Descendimiento de Pedro Machuca, Boletin del Museo del Prado, VIII, 1987, pp. 151-160.

Giusti, P., Pittura del Cinquecento a Napoli. 1510-1540 Forastieri e Reg, Electa Napoli, Napoles, 1988, pp. 41 / lám.36.

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, Historia de España, XIX, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1989, pp. 452.

Brown, Jonathan1939-, La Edad de Oro de la pintura en España, Nerea, Madrid, 1990, pp. 35 / lám. 32.

Marías, Fernando1949-, El siglo XVI: gótico y renacimiento, Silex, Madrid, 1992, pp. 103.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona, 1994.

La Pintura Española, Electa, Milán, 1995, pp. 253.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Brown, Jonathan, Painting in Spain 1500-1700, Yale University Press, Yale, 1998, pp. 33 / lám.44.

Castillo-Ojugas, Antonio, Una visita médica al Museo del Prado, You & Us, Madrid, 1998, pp. 35.

Cali, Maria, La Pittura del Cinquencento, Utet, Torino, 2000, pp. 645.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco y la pintura española del Renacimiento: guía, Museo del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 40.

Timon Tiemblo, Maria Pia, El Marco en España: del Mundo Romano al Inicio del Modernis, Publicaciones Europeas de Arte, Madrid, 2002, pp. 191.

Portús, Javier, La Colección de Pintura Española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 43.

Avila, Ana, La Virgen con el Niño y las almas del Purgatorio de Pedro Machuca y su vinculación italiana., Archivo español de arte, LXXXV, 2012, pp. 125-146 [137].

Bisceglia, Anna, Roma e gli spagnoli agli inizi del Cinquecento: La Sistina, Raffaello, le logge vaticane, Norma e capriccio. Spagnoli in Italia agli esordi della 'maniera moderna', Giunti, Firenze musei, Firenze, 2013, pp. 106-119 [112,114,117] fig.8.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1850.
Autor, Pedro de Machuca / 1850. asunto, 'Deposicion del señor' / Tabla, 141 x 128 cms / Nº del catalogo, 3017</br>Adquirido por el patronato del museo a la Colnaghi's de Londres, por ..... libras, el .... 1961.

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Room 052B (On Display)

Update date: 03-08-2017 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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