Painted in 2000 and exhibited as part of major exhibition of recent paintings entitled Celestina's House shown at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal in 2001, Deposition is a work that in a wholly secular way powerfully invokes a sense of religious narrative and mystery. It belongs to a series of works that Rego painted around the turn of the millennium that deliberately restaged Christian themes in a contemporary setting and which made particular use of figures descending from or slumped at the foot of her studio ladder in a mysterious echo of the religious but also strongly art-historical theme of Christ's Deposition from the cross. In major paintings and triptychs such as Martha Mary and Magdelene of 1999, Betrothal; Lessons, Wreck after 'Marriage A la Mode' by Hogarth of 1999, the Pillowman of 2004 and Human Cargo 2007 Rego repeatedly uses the ladder as a powerful pictorial presence seeming to represent a tool of status and an instrument of the Passion. Some figures sit atop the ladder in an elevated position of apparent status, others struggle up and down it or labour underneath it as if bearing a cross. Here, in this work a woman leans seemingly defeated at its foot, while the empty ladder ascends into darkness. Like the pieta-like figures at the foot of the ladder depicted in her triptych tribute to Hogarth's Marriage à la Mode, the melancholy woman in this mysterious painting also seems to illustrate part of an unknown contemporary story of a secular Lamentation. 'We make sense of the world through stories' Rego has said, ' It's the only thing we've got. All religions are stories, the Bible is stories, history is a form of storytelling...that's how you give life some structure...I think it is because I am Portuguese and because I love stories and Christianity is a very good story...a story loaded with meaning, it is beautiful but in a rather terrifying way. It is in your bowels. If you go on a picnic and the water is turning into wine before your very eyes - because nothing is just a picnic - well, then you have an explanation for the magic that exists already.' (P. Rego quoted in John McEwan, Paula Rego, London 2006, p. 287).