Carlo Crivelli

Hey guys! As I was looking through some photos I took in the MET museum, I found an interesting painting, and artists, that I wanted to talk about! Carlo Crivelli was an Italian painter during the Renaissance era. He was born around 1430/35 and lived till 1494. There is some belief that he studied under Francesco Squarcione, and his style appears to be a bit Gothic.

Personally, I think his paintings are uniquely fascinating. One of the paintings I wanted to talk about is Pieta created in 1476.

IMG_0381At first glance, the first thing you might notice is the amount of pain everyone is in. Crivelli does a good job expressing Holy Mary’s, and possibly Mary Magdalena’s and John the Evangelist’s pain during the lamentation of Christ. If you compare this to Michelangelo’s Pieta, you can see the significant change in expression. In Michelangelo’s work, Mary appears sad but content. She almost looks like she has accepted what has happened; therefore, the viewer might accept what has happened as well. While in Crivelli’s work, you can feel the heart-drenching pain that is felt among the figures, and you may share their agony as well.

The intensity of this painting is also highlighted through Christ’s features. The holes in his hands are deep, his veins are popping out, and Christ’s figure and color are uncomfortable and distressing. Christ’s left hand even comes out of the frame of the image, almost like it’s coming towards the audience. Crivelli may have added this effect to show viewers that the Passion was done for the world; therefore, this may be an engagement with the viewers.

Additionally, another piece of work by Crivelli that I saw in the Philadelphia Museum of Art was Dead Christ Supported by Two Putti created in the late 1470s.


I think this painting is even more heart breaking then the one above it. It is unclear whether the angels are taking Christ to Heaven here or if they are simply supporting him after his death. I believe that, by using the baby angels in this painting, Crivelli really sends a message about the agony of Christ’s death. He may be trying to show the viewers that this was a painful event and even the angels were distressed by this. Also, the way the angels’ faces are beat up from crying looks very realistic and can easily make the viewer sympathize for Christ, and possibly feel the guilt of Christ being crucified for the world.

Crivelli has an angel, in the pink outfit, take Christ’s left hand and this shows us the deep wounds that Christ had. Also, Crivelli now has Christ’s right hand being shown to the viewers on a right clothe, most likely a way to engage with the viewers.

Crivelli, Deposition of Christ, 1470

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