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Studio of Bernard van Orley (Brussels c. 1488-1541)
Studio of Bernard van Orley (Brussels c. 1488-1541)

Christ on the Road to Calvary

Studio of Bernard van Orley (Brussels c. 1488-1541)
Christ on the Road to Calvary
oil on panel
25¾ x 22 7/8 in. (65.5 x 58 cm.)
with Samuel Hartveld, Antwerp and New York, inv. 598 (according to a notation by M.J. Friedlnder on the reverse of a photo in the archive
M.J. Friedlnder, RKD, The Hague: 'Hartveld I.1931').
Hans Ludwig Larsen, Wassenaar (1892-1937);
Loaned by Susanne Menzel Larsen (1911-2001) to the De Lakenhal Museum, Leiden, 6 July, 1939;
Confiscated by the German authorities following the occupation of The Netherlands, after May 1940;
Sale, Van Marle and Bignell, the Hague, 25 January, 1943, lot 59;
Acquired for the Sonderauftrag Linz by Dr. Erhard Göpel (Linz no. 2755);
Recovered by the Monuments Fine Arts and Archives Section from the Salt Mines at Alt Aussee (Alt Aussee no. 3561);
and transferred to the Central Collecting Point, Munich, 19 July, 1945 (MCCP no. 4912);
Transferred to the Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit, The Netherlands, 15 January, 1946 (NK 1414);
Restituted to the heirs of Hans Ludwig Larsen, 2014.
M. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, Leiden, 1967-1976, VIII, suppl. 158, p. 112, plate 140, as Bernard van Orley.
L. Baldass, 'Die Entwickjlung des Bernart van Orley', Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, XIII, 1944, pp. 181-182, fig. 155, as Bernard van Orley.
Catalogus van schilderijen en beeldhouwweken: Limbergs Museum voor Kunst en Oudheden, Bisschoppelijk Museum Bisdom Roermond, Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum, 1958, p. 47, as School of Bernard van Orley.
J.D. Farmer, Bernard van Orley of Brussels, Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1981, pp. 252-253, no. 202, as a follower of Bernard van Orley called the 'Brussels Master of 1520'.
Old master paintings. An illustrated summary catalogue. Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst/The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts, Zwolle and The Hague, 1992, p. 230, no. 1984, as Studio of Bernard van Orley.
Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, inv. 534 (on loan from the Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst).

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Lot Essay

Max Friedländer considered this dynamic panel to be an autograph work by Van Orley datable to 1521 (loc. cit.). Having inspected the painting firsthand when it was on the art market in Antwerp in 1930, Ludwig Baldass independently arrived at the same conclusion, identifying it as an innovative example of Van Orley's late monumental style, while further observing that Raphael's Spasimo di Sicilia (Prado, Madrid) was ultimately the primary source for the composition (op. cit.). Indeed, there are strong parallels between this painting and Raphael's design, which Van Orley would have encountered when its cartoon was sent to Brussels to be woven as a tapestry for Cardinal Bibbiana between 1516 and 1520. The most immediate source for the present painting, however, was surely Van Orley's own interpretation of Raphael's design as it appears in the Northern artist's Christ Carrying the Cross cartoon, which he created for Margaret of Austria's "square" Passion tapestries of c. 1520-1522 (Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid), and which was later rewoven for the Alba Passion tapestries of c. 1525-1528 (Museé Jacquemart-André, Paris). Van Orley also took inspiration from the work of Albrecht Dürer, with whom he was personally acquainted: in 1520, Van Orley hosted a dinner party with Dürer as his guest. As in Dürer's Christ Carrying the Cross from the Large Passion prints of c. 1497-1500, in the present panel the main focus is not Christ's interaction with the swooning Virgin, but rather the miracle of the Sudarium, the holy cloth held by St. Veronica.

Farmer (loc. cit.) considered this painting to be the work of a clearly identifiable hand distinct from Van Orley, yet very close to him. This artist, whom he christened "The Brussels Master of 1520," tends to paint his figures with idiosyncratic, at times awkward poses and may have led a small, independent workshop that produced paintings most reminiscent of Van Orley's style of the late teens, while demonstrating a familiarity with the master's work through the thirties. Farmer hypothesized that The Brussels Master of 1520 may have even been related to Van Orley, suggesting the artist's brother, Evrard, as a plausible candidate.

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