Sandro Botticelli, Lamentation, San Paolino

Table of Contents:

Sandro Botticelli

Lamentation (1490-92)

Botticelli’s depiction of the Pieta for the Church of San Paolino perfectly captures the sadness and despair caused by Christ’s crucifixion. Christ’s dead body arches dramatically, and the Virgin Mary attempts to hold up her son in an expression of deep grief. Her eyes are closed, and St. John the Evangelist supports her body as she expresses her sadness. The Three Marys surround the Virgin and Christ, with Mary Magdalene clutching Christ’s limp feet. 

Botticelli used a relatively muted color palette for this piece, likely to emphasize the solemnity of the subject. Christ is young and beardless, while the saints who view from the edges are evidently older. This contrast further enforces the tragedy of Christ’s death, since he had not reached old age when he was crucified.


Legouix, Susan. Botticelli. London: Chaucer Press, 2004. Pg. 107.

Musée Luxembourg. Botticelli: From Lorenzo the Magnificent to Savonarola. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003. pg. 48.