Jean Malouel 1370 – 1415

Pieta Tondo

tempera on panel (∅ 64 cm) — c. 1400 Museum Musée du Louvre, Paris

Jean Malouel biography

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Traditional pietas show the dead Christ lamented by his mother, the Virgin Mary. This panel however also shows the Holy Trinity: it is God the Father himself who supports the body; the white pigeon symbolises the Holy Spirit.

To the right is John the Evangelist. A group of angels assists in supporting the pale body.

On the back of the panel is the coat of arms of Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy (1342-1404). Therefore it is assumed that Malouel made this panel when he worked at Philip's court.

In Malouel's days International Gothic was the prevailing style in art. This tondo however is considered by some as an example of Renaissance painting, mainly because of the vivid realism in the facial expressions.

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