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Circle of Quinten Metsys (Leuven 1466-1530 Kiel, near Antwerp)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE MIDWESTERN COLLECTION
Circle of Quinten Metsys (Leuven 1466-1530 Kiel, near Antwerp)

The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist, surrounded by the Symbols of the Passion

Details
Circle of Quinten Metsys (Leuven 1466-1530 Kiel, near Antwerp)
The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist, surrounded by the Symbols of the Passion
oil on panel
40 ¾ x 32 in. (103.5 x 81.2 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 27 January 2000, lot 197, as 'Master of the 1540s', where acquired by the present owner.
Exhibited
Chicago, Smart Museum of Art, A Well-Fashioned Image: Clothing and Costume in European Art, 1500-1850, 23 October 2001-28 April 2002, no. 31, as 'School of Antwerp'.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

Lot Essay

The present panel combines the iconic representation of the Passion symbols arranged around the background wall with a traditional narrative conception of the Crucifixion. Among the depicted symbols are the Instruments of the Passion, the silver coins of Judas’ bribe, the dice with which the soldiers played beneath the Cross and the veil of Saint Veronica. More unusual is the inclusion of the subsidiary figures behind the wall. Here are included Saint Peter, denying Christ to the serving girl (Luke 22:54-57 and again in Mark 14:69-70) – also symbolised by the rooster perched on the column at which Christ was scourged at the left – and the figure of Pontius Pilate at the right of the composition, dressed in exotic, Orientalised costume and accompanied perhaps by the centurion Longinus, who thrust the spear into Christ’s side on the Cross and later converted to Christianity.
The symbols and instruments of the Passion arranged across this panel were a familiar pictorial device during the Middle Ages, frequently accompanying andachtsbilder (devotional images) of Holy figures removed from narrative context and designed to inspire devotional meditation. Such images using the arma Christi were produced by a number of leading Netherlandish painters in the fifteenth century, including Hans Memling in the late 1470s in his The Man of Sorrows in the arms of the Virgin (Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria).
Till-Holger Borchert, to whom we are grateful, has commented on the basis of photographs that the drapery and folds of the figures' robes is reminiscent of works produced by Quinten Metsys and his workshop. The painting was likely painted in Antwerp in the 1520s, a prolific period of art production in the city.

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