MASTER OF THE LEGEND OF SAINT CATHERINE (ACTIVE BRUSSELS, SECOND HALF OF THE 15TH CENTURY) AND WORKSHOP
MASTER OF THE LEGEND OF SAINT CATHERINE (ACTIVE BRUSSELS, SECOND HALF OF THE 15TH CENTURY) AND WORKSHOP
MASTER OF THE LEGEND OF SAINT CATHERINE (ACTIVE BRUSSELS, SECOND HALF OF THE 15TH CENTURY) AND WORKSHOP
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MASTER OF THE LEGEND OF SAINT CATHERINE (ACTIVE BRUSSELS, SECOND HALF OF THE 15TH CENTURY) AND WORKSHOP
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THE ECLECTIC EYE: PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
MASTER OF THE LEGEND OF SAINT CATHERINE (ACTIVE BRUSSELS, SECOND HALF OF THE 15TH CENTURY) AND WORKSHOP

A diptych: Christ Carrying the Cross; and The Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary, Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint John the Evangelist

Details
MASTER OF THE LEGEND OF SAINT CATHERINE (ACTIVE BRUSSELS, SECOND HALF OF THE 15TH CENTURY) AND WORKSHOP
A diptych: Christ Carrying the Cross; and The Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary, Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint John the Evangelist
the second inscribed 'INRI' (center, on the cross)
oil on panel, arched tops, with engaged frames
18 3⁄4 x 13 1⁄8 in. (47.6 x 33.1 cm.), each
(2)a pair
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 8 December 1972, lot 59, as 'The Master of Saint Catherine'.
Charles de Pauw (1920-1984), Brussels; (†), Sotheby's, London, 9 April 1986, lot 35, as 'The Master of the Saint Catherine Legend', where acquired by the present owner.

Brought to you by

John Hawley
John Hawley Specialist, Head of Part II

Lot Essay

Intended for use in personal devotion, the present diptych combines two key moments from the Passion, providing a visual aid for the private contemplation of Christ’s suffering. In the first panel, a landscape dotted with fortified castles serves as the setting for showing Christ with his crown of thorns hunched beneath the weight of the cross he must carry to Golgotha, as his colorfully attired oppressors taunt and beat him. A similar hilly landscape featuring pronounced atmospheric perspective appears in the second panel, where Christ’s crucified body fills the sky and is flanked by the two thieves in accordance with the gospels. Upheld by Saint John the Evangelist, the Virgin Mary swoons at the sight of her son, while Mary Magdalene, velvet gown pooling at her feet and loose copper hair catching the light, clutches Jesus’s cross, each holy individual providing a model of grief for the viewer.

The Master of the Legend of Saint Catherine received his name from Max J. Friedländer in 1937 after the eponymous painting now in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. In light of the artist’s debt to Rogierian motifs, Friedländer even suggested he might have been Rogier’s son, Pieter van der Weyden, who continued to run his father’s workshop after his death. However, certain compositional and landscape elements in the works ascribed to the Master of the Legend of Saint Catherine point to a strong knowledge of the Bruges school as well. The present diptych contains many of the hallmarks of the anonymous master’s style, such as the Rogierian figure typology, the predilection for stoic facial expressions and elongated eyes (note here in particular the Magdalene), and the prominence of architectural elements. It also shows some similarities to a closely related group of works, formerly attributed to Vrancke Van der Stockt (now the Master of the Prado Redemption). Both masters had productive workshops that were active in the last third of the 15th century and increasingly so in its last decade. 

We are grateful to Till-Holger Borchert for endorsing the attribution to Master of the Legend of Saint Catherine and his workshop, as a late work, on the basis of photographic images. 

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