This work is a fine example of the characteristics of the Italian mannerist style. A type of painting made by a heterogeneous group of artists such as Giulio Romano, Parmigianino, Polidoro or Rosso Fiorentino himself. Each with their own personal traits, but always great admirers of Michelangelo's painting.
Descent from the Rosso Fiorentino Cross
In this case we see theDescent from the Crossthat he made in 1521Fiorentinoand that is currently preserved in thePinacoteca Comunale de Volterra.
This is a painting made for the altar of a church, and in it you can see how in this style one flees, almost denies that the images seem real, and even that they become plausible. On the other hand, they look much more for intellectual artifice and a certain touch of extravagance, yes, very refined. In this sense, the greatest exponent of extravagance would beArcimboldoand his busts made from fruits, as in his series The Seasons of the Year
In the case of this religious-themed painting, the characters painted by Rosso Fiorentino are presented to us in all cases with a most theatrical pose, enhancing in each case the dramatic tone of the scene.
Just look at the dangerous balance, almost impossible, in which all the characters thatThey have climbed the cross to lower the corpse of Jesus. Which by the way already has a greenish tint on its way to decomposition.
Another very apparent factor in the theatricality of the painting is its background painted with a uniform, pale blue varnish to simulate the sky. This gives everything a tone of tragedy, of an unreality in an atmosphere full of pain, as can be seen in the gestures of different characters such as the desperate Mary Magdalene, Saint John who covers his face crying or the Virgin Mary who she has fainted.
All these postures and colors are intended to give flight to the classical canons that for decades had prevailed in Italian painting. The philosophy of harmony disappears and attempts are made to represent feelings with exaggerated gestures and even quite violent and explicit attitudes.
And as for the painter's hand, it must be said that in the works of Rosso Fiorentino it can be seen that a very striking drawing predominates, through which he creates strong contours for the forms, even angular ones for the figures. Something that fits perfectly with its unreal colors. As we said at the beginning, an extraordinary example of Mannerist painting.