Caravaggio, freed from the burden of doctrine imposed by The Madonna of the Grooms, presented the unrelieved sorrow of an ordinary mortal death. Mary lies on a kind of litter, a poor woman, plainly dressed and barefoot, too weak to have crossed her hands in prayer and too worn even to .
Caravaggio, Death of the Virgin, 1605-06, Oil on canvas, 12 feet, 10 inches x 8 feet (369 x 245 cm) (Musée du Louvre, Paris) Painted for the altar of a family chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Scala del Trastevere, Rome.
As Rubens was well aware, Death of the Virgin is a great masterpiece by the great heretical painter of the Catholic Church. Unlike any other version of this subject, it shows the deceased Virgin Mary laid out just like poor people are laid out, and being mourned just like poor people are mourned.