The complex composition was completed around 1432-1434, just as the artist was starting to reach his technical peak. The detail across this scene is extraordinary, with a whole host of carefully placed figures dotted in each and every corner. There is also, additionally, a bright landscape with a fortified city lying in the background.
Fra Angelico was undoubtably hard working, with such a large output of paintings and drawings from his career, despite putting so much detail into each and every one. Whilst receiving help from assistants or guest contributors on occasion, the vast majority of his work was completed solely by his hand alone. We can assume a certain devotion to his craft, perhaps to the detriment of other areas of his life.
This prominent commission was for the Florentine church of Santa Trinita and had initially been started by Lorenzo Monaco. Angelico would take over this altarpiece project personally after the former's untimely death and lead it through to completion. He would have to stick with the original Gothic frame and the somewhat restrictive angles that this brought with it, but handled the challenge with his usual grace and poise. It was to be displayed in the Strozzi Chapel before later being transferred to the National Museum of San Marco in Florence in order to preserve it for future generations.
The Deposition of Christ is a highly emotive topic from Christian teachings which reminds us of the pain and suffering experienced by Jesus Christ in a selfless act for the benefit of others. Such strong emotions in this scene are ideal inspiration for any technically skilled artist.
The Deposition of Christ appears to have been "painted by a saint or an angel".Giorgio Vasari