© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This is a rare surviving work by this leading painter in fourteenth-century Naples. It is an imago pietatis, an image of the dead Christ standing in the tomb and displaying his wounds. Gleaming against the dark blue background, and mourned by the Virgin and Saint John, Christ’s body was likely meant to evoke a range of responses, from horror to compassion or even desire.

Surrounding the tomb and the more static central group of figures are the arma Christi, symbols that refer to scenes from the Passion. These jewel-like, brightly colored, and detailed elements invited the beholder to contemplate various events in the narrative of Jesus’s last days. This image represents a complex merging of the Passion narrative with the static depiction of the dead Christ in the tomb, a well-known subject in Byzantine painting.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Roberto Oderisi, Italian (active 1350 - 1385)
The Man of Sorrows
Work Type
c. 1354
Creation Place: Europe, Italy, Campania, Naples
Level 2, Room 2500, European Art, 13th–16th century, Art and Image in Europe
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Physical Descriptions
Tempera and gold on panel
62.2 x 38 cm (24 1/2 x 14 15/16 in.)
frame: 68.6 x 42.9 x 4.6 cm (27 x 16 7/8 x 1 13/16 in.)
Grenville Lindall Winthrop, [via Bernard Berenson], New York, NY, by 1923, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1937
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Grenville L. Winthrop, Class of 1886
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 151

Everett Fahy, "Italian Painting Before 1500", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 377-388, p. 386, repr. p. 385 as fig. 8

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 127, repr. as no. 498

James Clifton, The Body of Christ in the Art of Europe and New Spain, 1150-1800, exh. cat., Prestel Verlag (Munich, Germany and New York, NY, 1997), p. 21, repr. in color

Chikashi Kitazaki and Mina Oya, ed., Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Ueno, 2002), p. 23, repr. as fig. 5

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), p. 13, fig. 8

Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), p. 27, fig. 8

Carl Brandon Strehlke, Italian Paintings 1250-1450 in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA, 2004), p. 154

Ulrich Söding, Der Schmerzensmann: Bildwerke des Schönen Stils und des frühen Realismus, Sascha Mehringer (Munich, Germany, 2018), pp. 12, 82, repr. as fig. 5 on p.12

Exhibition History

32Q: 2500 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu