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The entombment of Christ

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  • Patricia asked

    Hello! Is it true that the Virgin's mantle is the first known painting where Prussian blue was used? Thank you!

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Patricia, Thank you for your question. I have asked our curator, Ruben Suykerbuyk and he says: "no, there has been some confusion about this matter, probably because there are several versions of this painting. The original is made by Adriaen van der Werff in 1703 and kept in Munich (see: https://rkd.nl/nl/explore/images/1509). Afterwards his studio repeated the motive several times, the painting that is kept by the Boijmans museum is one of those. Moreover, his younger brother Pieter van der Werff used the same composition in a 1709 painting, now kept in Potsdam ( see: https://rkd.nl/nl/explore/images/258297). In an article from 2008 (https://www.ndt.net/article/art2008/papers/029bartoll.pdf), the painting by Pieter was identified as (until now) the first in which the c. 1706 (synthetically) produced pigment Prussian blue was used. The author investigated 16 paintings by Adriaen, but none of them had Prussian blue. The pigments in the Boijmans painting have not been analyzed yet.". I hope this is useful. Kind regards, Els

  • Stefano asked

    Hi, in the book "How to make a zombie" I found this informations about the painting:
    "For centuries, van der Werff’s Entombment of Christ hung in the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, but it was moved to Rheinsberg Castle with the rest of the royal collection during the Second World War to escape Allied bombing raids. When Rheinsberg fell to the Soviets, the collection was taken east and displayed in Soviet galleries, right under Bryukhonenko’s nose, before being returned in 1958."
    Is it true? On the web, I didn't find anything on this matter. Thanks

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Stefano, I doubt if the painting in our collection is the one referred to in this book. This painting in Boijmans collection was purchased in 1869 from art collector and artist Hendrik Rochussen. Therefore it is unlikely that it has gone through all the adventures during WWII as you describe. My guess is that the painting mentioned in the book is another painting of Van der Werff, with the same title but from a later date (1709). That painting seems to be owned by the Picture Gallery, Sanssouci, Potsdam (Inv. No. GK I 10008). Best, Xin.


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More information

After Christ’s crucifixion, Matthew writes: ‘As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.’ (Matthew 27:57-60) Van ded Werff depicted the dead Christ as an ideal nude. He is laying in the arms of Joseph of Arimathea and surrounded by a number of women including Mary Magdalene, the woman holding Jesus’ arm. Left in the background is the entrance to the tomb. Two figures are approaching on the right.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title The entombment of Christ
Material and technique Oil on canvas on panel
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width Error: 54,5 is not a valid BCD value cm
Height Error: 81,5 is not a valid BCD value cm
Artists Painter: Pieter van der Werff
Previously attributed: Adriaen van der Werff
Accession number 1967 (OK)
Credits Purchased 1869
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1869
Creation date in 1706-1722 (c.)
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

Pieter van der Werff

Kralingen 1665 - Rotterdam 1722

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