The Entombment (Baroque in Flanders)


The Entombment (Baroque in Flanders)

The art work chosen is Rubens, The Entombment (Baroque in Flanders). In this case, Peter Paul Rubens depicts the moment after when Christ was crucified and before He resurrected which is the time when Christ was placed into the tomb. The people supporting Christ are: Mary mother of James, Joseph, Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist. Mary the mother of Christ looks heavenward for divine intercession as she cradles his head. The main aim of the entombment was to encourage faith among religious viewers by making them imagine Christ’s Crucifixion which was a physical horror (Rubens, 1612). The Entombment was done by Peter Paul Rubens as oil on canvas painting. It is a baroque style painting with an incorporation of some mannerist design into it. The baroque painting was meant to humanize how Jesus Christ suffered. Ruben used detail, weight and color as way of bringing Christ’s story into light.

The piece of art was created around 1612 and Ruben was able to look at the emotional attachment of each character as a way of bringing drama into the art. This separates Entombment from various pieces of art that were created during that time. In as much as most artists tried to demonstrate how the death of Christ looked like, Ruben was able to use a more natural approach in accomplishing this. This approach brought an old iconic image into a new light and an old iconic image was brought into light. The Flemish painting is found in Los Angeles, California in Getty Museum and stands at a height of 131 centimeters and 130.2 centimeters in Length. The artwork by Ruben uses attention to detail such as weight and color as a way of focusing more on the sadness and pain that was felt after the death of Christ other than the actual crucifixion. During that moment in time, the emotional attachment felt by the audience to the Christ’s human side was vital to the church and its artists (Borusowski, 2015).

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Ruben uses color as a way of depicting a highly important moment in religion and giving it a humanistic appearance and feel at the same time. Emotional feelings in this piece are created through the use of vibrant oil colors. A bright blue color is used on Mary’s robe and a bright red robe on the figure on her right. These colors are used in grabbing the attention of the audience by adding feelings to the piece of art. On the other hand, the pale looking skin of Mary and Christ depicts a sense of death and drama. They both appear lifeless although the art shows that Mary is still alive despite her skin appearing more deathly pale. She is holding up Christ and her body is not lying limp. A significant role is played by weight in the art. The body of Christ appears to be more than just one solid object as it has weight effect behind it where body parts that are heavier would fall down if not held up. This shows how Ruben paid attention in making the artwork as natural as possible thus giving it a feeling that is human like (Borusowski, 2015).

Possibly the most vital element in the piece of art is how Ruben has focused the attention on the faces by using the natural detail. Despite there being the same undertone on sadness, there is some kind of unique expression on the faces of every figure in the painting. As a way of signifying intense grief, one of the main central figures, Mary, has bright red rings around her eyes which shows as if she had cried for a long period as a result of the detailed element. On the left of Mary’s figure, the figure appears to be in a disbelief state where the old woman stares at the wound on the hand of Christ. Other than just giving her character, this adds to the element of the story as well. This is the same case to the figure behind Mary where despite the woman being mixed in the background, she appears to be in total disbelief.


Borusowski, P. (2015). Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc and Joan of Arc. Werkwinkel10(2), 25-35. doi: 10.1515/werk-2015-0010

Rubens, P. (1612). The Entombment – Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577 – 1640) – Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved from

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