Christ being taken down from His Cross by St. Joseph of Arimathea, the Theotokos, St. John the Theologian, and the Myrrh-bearing
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to all four canonical gospels, the man who assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion. He was a wealthy member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and a secret follower of Christ; which is why he did not join in the Council's actions against Jesus.
After the death of Jesus, Joseph asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus' body and bury it properly. Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.
Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.
Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1495
Detail of Joseph of Arimathea
Oil on panel
Height: 220 cm (86.6 in); Width: 195 cm (76.7 in)
Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence
They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified. They buried Jesus in an unused tomb that St. Joseph intended for himself, where it was protected by a heavy stone rolled against the opening.
The story that Joseph was related to Jesus may originate from the tradition that the senior male relative of a crucified person was obliged to deal with the body. Jesus' father was no longer around, so if Joseph of Arimathea did volunteer for the task, that suggests that he must have been related to Jesus in some important way.
William Blake (November 28, 1757 - August 12, 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake's work is now considered seminal in the history of both poetry and the visual arts.
Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the (English) language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced".
Although he only once travelled any further than a day's walk outside London over the course of his life, his creative vision engendered a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced 'imagination' as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself". More on William Blake
One of the abiding legends of early English Christianity is that Joseph of Arimathea visited the West Country of England with the teenage Jesus. Both Somerset and Cornwall claim to have been visited by Joseph and Jesus.
Another legend states that Joseph of Arimathea became a missionary after the death of Jesus and was eventually sent to England to preach the Gospel. He took with him the Holy Grail, and his pilgrim's staff. More on Joseph of Arimathea