Two years ago the Art Gallery of Ontario mounted a special exhibition of Peter Paul Rubens paintings (Early Rubens) done on his return to Antwerp from Rome.  In the centre of one of the exhibition rooms was a triptych of The Descent from the Cross.

In the centre panel Jesus is being lowered from the cross by Mary, Mary Magdalen, and Joseph of Arimathea.  In the panel on the left is Mary and the infant Jesus, standing while held by Mary and looking at Jesus lowered from the cross.  In the right panel is the apostle John turned away from the central scene in grief.

The painting is striking in its vividness.  Several times for a prolonged period I was able to sit in front of it and contemplate the scene.  Needless to say that it was profoundly moving in its beauty and sadness.

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