Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saint John the Baptist
Fresco torn and brought back to canvas
The fresco, torn and brought back to canvas, represents the moment in which Mary holds the lifeless body of her Son taken down from the cross in her arms, while the Magdalene weeps holding the legs of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea brings the hand of the deceased to his face. Next to the group of mourners appears the figure - incongruous according to the Gospel account - of St. John the Baptist, recognizable by the robe of camel hair. At the foot of the group, in particular, a nail and the crown of thorns which, together with the presence of the Baptist, refer to the Monza location of the painting: the Baptist is in fact the patron saint of the city, while the instruments of the Passion allude to the relics venerated in Cathedral, in particular to the Santo Chiodo kept in the Iron Crown. The fresco comes from the Casa degli Umiliati - now home to the museum - from where it was torn off in 1932 when the building was used as the seat of the Royal Magistrate's Court; at the time of the posting, the authorship was attributed to Simone Peterzano, but following subsequent research and stylistic comparisons it is much more plausible that the author of the fresco is Giuseppe Meda, active in those same years in the nearby Cathedral of Monza. The painting is characterized by the elegant ways of a mannerist style drawing, with calibrated evidence of gestures and expressions and references to Michelangelo's models.