The Lamentation Artist: Unknown, Northern Italian, 15th century

ca. 1470

European Art

Little is known about this interesting object carved from wood and originally painted with various colors making it seem more realistic. Based upon the mixture of Italian Renaissance influence and International Gothic style, the piece is thought to be Northern Italian (or perhaps even Austrian) from the latter half of the fifteenth century. The monument depicted stems from the narrative cycle of Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection, after the dead body was removed from the cross and before it was put into the tomb.




48 1/4 × 72 1/8 × 13 1/2 in. (122.56 × 183.2 × 34.29 cm)

Credit Line

Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903, Fund

Accession Number



15th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Dr. James Simon (1851–1932), Berlin; given to the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin; exchanged for paintings with Victor Hahn (1860–1930), Berlin, by January 1927 [see note 1]; sale, Ball & Graupe et Cie., Berlin, June 27, 1932, lot 26. Possibly Carl von Weinberg (1861–1943), Frankfurt am main, Germany [see note 2]. Friedrich Pfundmayr (born 1895), Vienna, by November 1941; sale, Weinmu¨ller, Munich, November 13–14, 1941, lot 296 [see note 3]. Possibly purchased at an auction by Josef Thorak (1889–1952), Hartmannsburg, Germany, 1942 [see note 4]; by descent to Erna Josef Thorak, Hartmannsburg, Germany; probably sold to Wilhelm Henrich, Frankfurt, Germany, 1963; sold to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1965

Note 1: For more on the exchange of works of art from the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, see: Paul Westheim, “Zum ‘Tauschsystem’ im Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum,” Das Kunstblatt, XI, no. 3, 1927, pp.16-17

Note 2: In a letter to Gallery director, Andrew Ritchie (1907–1978), from Dr. Hanns Swarzenski (1903–1985), Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, who advised the Gallery on the sculpture’s acquisition, Swarzenski states: “We just came back from Europe … I did not find too many exciting sculptures, but saw again at Wilhelm Henrich, Neue Mainzer Strasse 31, Frankfurt am Main, the Italian Lamentation Group in wood … which, if I remember correctly, was later in the Carl von Weinberg Collection, Frankfurt.” (Letter from Dr. Hanns Swarzenski, Boston, to the Gallery, September 2, 1964, curatorial file)

Note 3: Annotated copy of the 1941 Weinmu¨ller sale catalogue, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich (digitized via the German Lost Art Foundation, “,” accessed January 2017)

Note 4: According to Henrich, “In the year 1942 it came again in the auction and it came in the collection of the famous sculptor Thorak. Mrs. Thorak sold it last year.” (Letter from Wilhelm Henrich, Frankfurt, to the Gallery, September 24, 1964)

This work appears on our "Artworks with Nazi-Era Provenance Documentation Gaps" page.
  • Dorothy Gillerman, Gothic Sculpture in America: The New England Museums, 1 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1989), 330–32, no. 246, ill
  • Otto von Falke and Victor Hahn, Die Sammlung Victor Hahn, Berlin (Berlin: Hermann Ball and Paul Graupe, Berlin, 1932), no. 24
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