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About 1510-1530


Oil on wood


66.1 x 54.7 cm


Purchase, anonymous gift, inv. 1967.1556


Western Art

Unfortunately, the artist of this work has not yet been identified, despite the high quality of its execution. The style is in line with that of the so-called Antwerp Mannerists, a group of painters in the first thirty years of the sixteenth century. The most famous among these artists were de Beer and Gossaert, though the majority of them remain anonymous. The works of these artists are characterized above all by an emphasis on decorative invention conveyed through theatrical figures and flamboyant costumes. These features are evident in the present painting, particularly in the richly dressed women in the right foreground and in the elaborately dressed figures in the left middle ground. The Lamentation was a popular theme among the “Antwerp Mannerists.” Christ is seen lying in the centre foreground, mourned by his mother in blue, who herself is consoled by Saint John the Evangelist. To the right, the woman holding a sponge is Mary Magdalen. The crown of thorns, a reminder of the Christ’s persecution, sits in front of the dead Saviour in the immediate foreground. The atmospheric landscape in which the scene is set is typical of Flemish painting of this period.

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