The Crucifixion with Moses, David, St Paul and St John the Baptist
- Place of origin:
ca. 1600 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
oil on canvas
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
British Galleries, Room 58b, case 2
This painting, with its complex allegories showing quotations and parallels between the Old and the New Testament, is based on a print that the engraver Jerome Wierix derived from a composition by Crispin van den Broeck. Such allegories were frequently the subject of prints and paintings in the late 16th century. Both Wierix and Broeck were well-known in their day for their numerous prints with Counter-Reformation themes that were commissioned and disseminated by the Jesuits throughout Europe as propaganda.
In this painting the main figure of the Crucified Christ is accompanied by the Brazen Serpent on a pole. According to the Old Testament, this was carried as a kind of standard before Moses and prefigures the Crucifixion. Other texts and images from the Bible are mingled with such pre-Christian symbols as the phoenix, which often represented an allegory of the Resurrection. Emblems, signs and symbols were an integral part of the various kinds of Christian theology at this time, and would have been easily recognisable to a literate believer.
The style of the painting is Netherlandish, but as the texts are in English the painting may be by a British artist who had worked abroad, or by a foreign artist working for a British patron.
Oil painting depicting the crucifixion, with Moses and David, St. Peter and St. John the Baptist, and typological scenes.
Place of Origin
ca. 1600 (made)
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Marks and inscriptions
Inscriptions from the Old and New Testaments in English
Height: 116.5 cm unframed, Width: 99.1 cm unframed
Object history note
Painted for an unidentified British patron. Painted by an unidentified artist following a print by Jerome Wierix (born in Antwerp, Belguim, 1553, and died there, 1619), from a painting by Crispin van den Broeck (born in Mechelen, Belgium, 1523, died in Antwerp, Belguim, 1589-1591)
Anonymous oil painting depicting the Crucifixion, with Moses and David, St. Peter and St. John the Baptist, and typological scenes. Great Britain, 17th century.
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1938, London: Board of Education, 1939.
Labels and date
The composition of this painting is based on a print imported from Antwerp. The inscriptions emphasise the Protestant insistence on the text of the bible as the only sure source of salvation. Such elaborate religious symbolism was valued by some Anglicans as well as by Catholics but was increasingly opposed by Puritans from the 1580s. We do not know whether this painting was intended for private devotion or public display in a church. [27/03/2003]
Oil paint; Canvas
Paintings; Religion; Christianity; Biblical Imagery
Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection