"The Entombment"
Titian, 1520

"The Entombment"
Kirby Kendrick, 2004

Titian was one of the most famous and accomplished Italian painters of the Renaissance. His masterpiece, The Entombment, was painted around 1520 for the family of the Dukes of Mantua. It now hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Titian’s brilliant composition displays the intense emotions of those present at Jesus’s entombment. The grief of Mary, Jesus’s mother, is wrenching as she is comforted by the horrified Mary Magdalene. The face of the apostle, John, who holds Jesus’s right hand, is full of anguish. Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy Jew who offered his own tomb for the burial, is the figure in the rich red robes and Nicodemus, a rabbi dressed in the black robes of the scholar, is the figure holding Jesus’s feet.

While I was studying art at the New York Studio School, our graduating thesis was to “transcribe,” or replicate a master painting in our own way. Titian’s entombment of Christ stilled my heart and I set out to paint this moment of great import as best I could. A strange thing began to happen. Other students in this international school would drop by my easel and ask questions about the subject matter. All had certainly heard of Jesus, but details were dim of his crucifixion and resurrection. It was my profound privilege to tell and retell the story to my fellow students.

My “transcription” of The Entombment is now in the permanent collection of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, San Diego, California.


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