Artwork Details

Édouard Manet


Dead Christ with Angels
1866 – 1867
Etching and aquatint printed in brown ink on beige China paper
15 1/2 x 12 7/8 inches
Not on view
Accession Number
Jansma Collection, Grand Rapids Art Museum

About the Artwork

Edouard Manet was the most important figure in the emergence of French modernism in the 1860s. He showed the painting The Dead Christ with Angels in the Salon of 1864. Three years later, Manet began work on an etching, conceived as a new interpretation of the painting. Unlike his contemporaries Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, who were prolific printmakers, Manet seldom executed prints, making the occasion of this print yet more significant.

The masterful print, The Dead Christ with Angels, was created from the largest copper plate Manet ever etched. Two elegantly rendered angels attend to Christ as he reveals the wounds of his Crucifixion. The intimate, atmospheric quality of the print, created by washes of aquatint, softens the lifeless physicality of Christ. The somber and elegiac tone of the scene anticipates the miracle of the Resurrection, a triumph over death and Satan referenced by the slithering serpent in the foreground. Fewer than a dozen impressions of The Dead Christ with Angels exist. Exceedingly rare, this etching was privately published and never exhibited, only later claiming a distinguished place in the history of the western print.