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The Crucifixion of Christ

  • Object:

    Triptych

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (north, probably or Lower Rhine (Kalkar?) , made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1500-1520 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Boxwood

  • Museum number:

    264-1874

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This triptych, a small portable altar which was probably originally contained in a leather carrying case, is a humble version of the more elaborate and well-known 'monstrance' triptychs in the British Museum and Wallace Collection in London, and elsewhere. It is close in style, composition and size to a triptych in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen and is almost certainly the product of the same workshop. These miniature triptychs have mostly been ascribed to a South Netherlandish workshop or workshops, generally on the grounds that there shape and narrative composition echo that found on larger altarpieces in Antwerp. In fact, the figure style, foliate ornament, iconographic schemes, distinctive vaulted interiors and the unpainted state of the sculptures all point to centres further North - in this case towards the lower reaches of the Rhine in and around Kalkar.

Physical description

Boxwood triptych depicting the Crucifixion of Christ between the two thieves in the central compartment, set before a vaulted space with four traceried windows. Numerous figures fill the fore- and middle-ground including the Virgin fainting at the foot of the cross with St John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene and six figures on horseback, including Longinus and Stephaton. In the vault above the Cross, almost obscured by the foliate border of the frame, is the half-length figure of God the Father. The left wing shows the carrying of the Cross in front of a rock landscape of tiered stones, and the right the scene of the Lamentation. Below the scenes run the inscriptions 'O CRVX. AVE' (left), and 'SPES VNICA' (right) taken from the hymn Vexilla Regis.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (north, probably or Lower Rhine (Kalkar?) , made)

Date

ca. 1500-1520 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Boxwood

Marks and inscriptions

'O CRVX. AVE'
Decoration; along the bottom of the left wing; carved;

'SPES VNICA'
Decoration; along the bottom of the right wing; carved; boxwood

Dimensions

Height: 7.6 cm, Width: 5.2 cm closed

Object history note

Bought from Mr John Webb, London and Cannes in 1874.

Descriptive line

Triptych, boxwood, the Crucifixion of Christ, probably North Netherlands or Lower Rhine (Kalkar?), about 1500-20

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Paul Williamson, Netherlandish Sculpture, London, 2002, pp. 148-9, cat no. 49
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington, Acquired During the Year 1874, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., p. 20

Materials

Boxwood

Subjects depicted

Saints; Crucifixes; Execution; Soldiers; Horses; Death; Salvation; Ladders; Crosses

Categories

Sculpture; Religion; Personal accessories; Christianity

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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