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Panel with painted scene of figures surrounding a reclining man

A light-skinned man reclines in the foreground. Behind his head is a gold halo. A figure on the right holds his foot, and a figure on the left kneels with head down. Behind them, a woman in a blue dress sits in a collapsed position. She is supported by women on her right and left. Two men stand beside the women and look toward them. Behind the figures is a T-shaped cross with winged figures flying around it, visible from the waist up. The panel has a raised frame which is painted with a red and blue botanical pattern.

Gallery Text

Although the artist who created this extraordinary painting was active in Florence in the third decade of the fourteenth century, his style and method are difficult to localize. Works attributed to him are found in Umbria and Tuscany, and are often associated with Franciscan contexts, suggesting that he may have worked in a semi-itinerant way through the order’s network. This panel is most likely the central element of a predella running below the main register of an altarpiece — however, lamentation scenes are rare in predellas of this early date, and its narrow dimensions make it hard to imagine what would have existed in the field above it. The artist shows an acute awareness of his agency in depicting the event, skillfully manipulating every aspect of the figural and formal composition to enhance the emotional intensity of his subject. This joining together of form and subject announces a new age in the history of art.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Master of the Fogg Pietà, Italian (c. 1300 - 1350)
The Lamentation over the Dead Christ
Work Type
c. 1330
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Tuscany, Florence
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2500, European Art, 13th–16th century, Art and Image in Europe
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Physical Descriptions

Tempera and gold on panel
42.2 x 50 cm (16 5/8 x 19 11/16 in.)
frame: 57 x 65 cm (22 7/16 x 25 9/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Marchese della Robbia, Florence. [Tedeschi, Rome]. [Durlacher Brothers, London], sold; to Paul J. Sachs, 1920, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1927

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Meta and Paul J. Sachs in memory of Grace Norton
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Alfred M. Frankfurter, "Venturi's "Italian Paintings in America" Reviewed: Three Monumental Volumes with Handsome Illustrations are Important Contribution to Italian Art Literature", The Art News (January 20, 1934), p. 15
  • Style and Technique: Their Interrelation in Western European Painting, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1936), no. 16, p. 23, pl. VI
  • Agnes Mongan, Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965]: given and bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1965), cat. no. 85, repr.
  • Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 128
  • Andrea Kirsh, "Worlds Below: An Investigation of Infrared Reflectography" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, April 1973), Unpublished, pp. 1-25 passim
  • Janet Cox, "Color in Art", Harvard Magazine (Cambridge, MA, June 1974), vol. 76, no. 10, p. 33, repr.
  • James N. Carpenter, Color in Art: A Tribute to Arthur Pope, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1974), p. 70, cat. 31, ill.
  • Everett Fahy, "Italian Painting Before 1500", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 377-388, p. 381-382, repr. p. 380 as fig. 4
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 160, p. 142, repr.
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 118, 283, repr. b/w cat. no. 487
  • Toshihide Orihashi, ed., New History of World Art, Vol. 10 , Gothic II, Shogakukan Inc. (Tokyo, Japan, 1994), repr. in b/w p. 116
  • Thomas Cahill, "The Writer as Inhabiter of Ancient Words", Harvard Divinity School Bulletin (Spring 1999), vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 24-25, repr. in b/w p. 24
  • Francesca Bewer, A Laboratory for Art: Harvard's Fogg Museum and the Emergence of Conservation in America, 1900-1950, Harvard Art Museum and Yale University Press (U.S.) (Cambridge, MA, 2010), p. 186-187, fig. 4.22
  • Miklós Boskovits, "Carlo Volpe: Alcuni Ricordi", Paragone (Milan, Italy, Gennaio-Marzo 2012), Anno LXII, no. 743-745, terza serie 101-102, pp. 5-13, pp. 3, 12, repr. figs. 7, 8
  • Leigh Anne Miller, "A Second-generation Framing Conservator on Tinkering with Picasso, Van Gogh, and Titian Frames", Art in America (August 4, 2020),, accessed August 24, 2020

Exhibition History

  • Style and Technique: Their Interrelation in Western European Painting, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1936 - 12/31/1936
  • Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965] Given and Bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/15/1965 - 01/15/1966; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 12/19/1966 - 02/26/1967
  • Color in Art: A Tribute to Arthur Pope, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/25/1974 - 06/16/1974
  • Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977
  • 32Q: 2500 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

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Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at