Galleria Borghese logo
Search results for
No results :(

Hints for your search:

  • Search engine results update instantly as soon as you change your search key.
  • If you have entered more than one word, try to simplify the search by writing only one, later you can add other words to filter the results.
  • Omit words with less than 3 characters, as well as common words like "the", "of", "from", as they will not be included in the search.
  • You don't need to enter accents or capitalization.
  • The search for words, even if partially written, will also include the different variants existing in the database.
  • If your search yields no results, try typing just the first few characters of a word to see if it exists in the database.

Deposition of Christ

Bassetti Marcantonio

(Verona 1586 - 1630)

The painter is documented as having been in Rome, together with Alessandro Turchi, at several work sites started by Scipione Borghese, for whom Marcantonio Bassetti made a number of easel works, such as this Deposition of Christ where the luminous highlights are reminiscent of a Venetian atmosphere.

Despite his loyalty to his training in the Verona area, with this painting, Bassetti is influenced by the Roman environment and Caravaggio. In the gestures of the figures there is something of Tintoretto, while the face of the Madonna in semi-darkness follows some examples by Girolamo Savoldo.

Object details

oil on canvas
cm 48 x 39

19th century frame decorated with four corner palmettes.


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1693 (Inv. 1693, room XI, no. 96); Inv. 1700, room V, no. 189; Inv. 1790, room V, no. 18; Inventario Fidecommissario, 1833, p. 40; purchased by the Italian State, 1902.

  • 1974 Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia;
  • 2010 Possagno, Museo e Gipsoteca canoviana.


This painting is documented as part of the Borghese collection beginning in 1693, mentioned in that year’s inventory as a work by one Martiniani, a name which was changed (1700) to Guercino and as such registered in the inventory of 1790, as well as in the fideicommissum listing of 1833. In 1893 Adolfo Venturi judged the work to be “a mere sketch, much neglected in form” and ascribed it to Alessandro Tiarini, an attribution later rejected by Roberto Longhi (1926) and Paola della Pergola (1955), who saw in it the hand of Marcantonio Bassetti and considered it a Caravaggesque achievement produced in Rome by the Veronese painter around 1616. This opinion was seconded by Anna Ottani Cavina (1974), who in the catalogue of the exhibition Cinquant'anni di pittura veronese (1580-1630) observed in the tragic halting of the action “references to Tintoretto and Veronese,” as well as Savoldian implications in the Virgin’s features. Furthermore, according to this scholar, here the Caravaggesque experience seems to be mediated by the work of Orazio Borgianni, Carlo Saraceni, and Hendrick ter Brugghen during his Roman decade (1604-14).

As Pier Luigi Fantelli (1974) has correctly observed, the ascription by Longhi and all other critics of this canvas to Bassetti’s first Roman period has laid the foundations for the comprehension of this artist’s pictorial development. Having arrived in Rome in 1614 together with Alessandro Turchi, he became one of Saraceni’s protégés, working as his assistant on the project of the Palazzo di Montecavallo. In fact, during his Roman sojourn his style, which conformed, to the Venetian pictorial tradition, was renewed following the example of Borgianni and achieving results comparable with those of Giovanni Serodine and Domenico Fetti, characterized by a rougher, cruder brushstroke (see Ivanoff 1970). These attainments are not very visible in the Borghese canvas, which may be placed at the beginning of his development, which ended in 1620, when the painter returned to Verona where he died in the plague of 1630.

This work depicts the deposition of Christ from the Cross, his body gradually lowered to the ground with pieces of linen purchased by Joseph of Arimathea and wrapped in a white shroud before being placed in the sepulchre. In fact, the scene depicts the exact moment in which the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalen are crying over Jesus’s lifeless body, which has been laid on the ground by Nicodemus, while Joseph of Arimathea is removing the pieces of cloth.    

Antonio Iommelli

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 205; 
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 202; 
  • R. Longhi, Il trio dei veronesi, in "Vita Artistica", I, 1926, pp. 287-288, tav. XXVI;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, pp. 60-64, 218; 
  • A. De Rinaldis, Catalogo della Galleria Borghese, Roma 1948, p. 57; 
  • A. De Rinaldis, L’Arte in Roma, dal ‘600 al ‘900, Bologna 1948, p. 221; 
  • P. della Pergola, Itinerario della Galleria Borghese, Roma 1951, p. 35; 
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, p. 105, n. 187; 
  • A. Ottani Cavina, Marcantonio Bassetti, in “Arte antica e moderna”, XXVI, 1964, p. 155, fig. 46; 
  • N. Ivanoff, Antonio Giarola detto il Cavalier Coppa, in "Arte Lombarda", I, 1965, p. 119;
  • C. Donzelli, G.M. Pilo, I pittori del Seicento veneto, Firenze 1967, p. 82;
  • A. Moir, The italian followers of Caravaggio, Cambridge 1967, I, p. 276; II, p. 46;
  • N. Ivanoff, Bassetti, Marcantonio, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, VII, 1970, ad vocem;
  • A. Ottani Cavina, in Cinquant’anni di pittura veronese: 1580 – 1630, catalogo della mostra (Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia, 1974), a cura di L. Magagnato, Verona 1974, p. 139, n. 115, fig. 145;
  • P.L. Fantelli, in Maestri della pittura veronese, a cura di P. Brugnoli, Verona 1974, p. 314; 
  • P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 313; 
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 140; 
  • V. Mancini, in I Caravaggeschi: percorsi e protagonisti, a cura di C. Strinati, A. Zuccari, I, Milano 2010, pp. 162-163.