Descent from the Cross
The account of Jesus’ followers removing his body from the Cross is found in all four Gospels and is called “The Deposition from the Cross,” or “The Descent from the Cross.” Early representations of this event presented only Joseph of Arimathaea and the two Marys, but later other figures were added — the Blessed Virgin, Nicodemus, John, and various servants of Joseph.
In the basilica’s version,on the north side of the choir, we see Jesus being lowered by a young man with a muscular arm.Joseph of Arimathaea has climbed a ladder and his helping by grasping Jesus’ arm. Nicodemus and the Blessed Virgin receive the body of Jesus, while the Apostle John, portrayed as a young man, holds the legs. Mary Magdelene stands beneath the ladder, with an anguished face and upraised arms. In the upper left corner, the sun is still darkened. At the bottom of the fresco are a ewer and cloth, as well as a basin and sponge for washing the body of Jesus.