Early Netherlandish Master

South Netherlandish | Possibly Bruges or Antwerp
Late-Gothic | First quarter of the 16th Century | Ca. 1500/10

The Lamentation of Christ, with Mount Golgotha and Judas Iscariot hanging himself (Matthew 27:1–10) beyond

Oil on panel
H. 46,5 cm. | W. 35,2 cm.

Private collection

Friedländer, M. (1967/76). Early netherlandish painting. Leiden: A. W. Sijthoff, Vol. VIb, nr. 163A; Vol. VII, nr. 1 and Vol. IXb, nr. 193;
Collection catalogue (1969). Sammlung Oskar Reinhart am Römerholz. Winterthur, p. 23, nr. 46, fig. 5;
Silver, L. (1984). The paintings of Quinten Massys. Oxford 1984, pp. 71-75, pp. 82-96 and pp. 204-205, nr. 11, ill. 20;
Miegroet, H.J. van (1989). Gerard David. Antwerp, p. 112, p. 280, nr. 6A, fig. 92;
Ainsworth, M.W. (1998). Gerard David. Purity of vision iin an age of transition. New York, p. 319;
Exhibition catalogue (1998). Brugge en de Renaissance. Van Memling tot Pourbus. Brugge:Memlingmuseum/Oud-Sint-Janshospitaal, Vol. II, nr. 30;
Faries, M. (2010). ‘The Vienna wing panels by Geertgen tot Sint Jans and his drawing and painting technique’. In: Oud Holland, nr. 123, pp. 187-219

The present work by an at present unidentified Early Netherlandish Master combines elements know form other known compositions, most notable The Lamentation of Christ by Gerard David, active in Bruges and Antwerp, ca. 1484- 1523, collection of Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur, or The Lamentation of Christ by the Master of the Holy Blood, active in Bruges ca. 1500-1520, kept in the Basilica Museum, Bruges, especially regarding the background. The white shroud on which Christ is depicted is relates to several verions of The Lamentation of Christ by Quinten Massijs and his workshop, active in Antwerp, ca. 1491-1530, e.g. the central panel of the Altarpiece of the Joiners’ Guild, collection of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp (inv. Nr 245). A such an origin of the present work in Bruges of Antwerp seams plausible.

The iconographical theme of the Lamentation, first introduced in Western art in the 11th century, traditionally gives a prominent position to the Virgin, who either holds the body and later has it across her lap, or sometimes falls back in a state of collapse. Byzantine depictions place the scene at the foot of the empty cross, which became the standard in Western Gothic art. Even when the cross is subsequently depicted less prominent, the landscape background is usually retained. In Early Netherlandish painting of the 15th century the three crosses often appear in the background of the painting, a short distance from the scene, as is the case with the present pictures, with Mount Golgotha (or Calvary) in the background. Highly interesting is the rare inclusion of the hanging of the remorseful Judas Iscariot (Matthew 27:1–10) from a tree, paced in the centre of the composition.