Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Descent from the Cross with Scenes from the Passion
  • Master of Frankfurt Workshop
    1460–circa 1533
    active: Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium)
  • Descent from the Cross with Scenes from the Passion, circa 1515–1518
  • Where object was made: Antwerp, Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium)
  • oil on oak panel
  • Canvas/Support: 144.5 x 347.5 cm
    Canvas/Support: 56 7/8 x 136 3/4 in
  • Museum purchase: Helen Foresman Spencer Art Acquisition Fund
  • On view: Stewart Gallery, 406, W2
  • 1984.0196.a-e
Label Text

The large central panel shows what has been identified as the descent from the cross, with the body of a figure (identified as Christ) held by a group of mourners and angels in the foreground. Female figure (identified as Mary Magdalene) with alabaster box before her, grieves at Christ’s feet. Skull and crossbones to the left of alabaster box. Two angels in drapery at the top of the panel; one on each side of a large cross that visually divides the panel. Ladder leans on the cross. Angel to the left of the ladder holds a crown of thorns. Angel to the right covers eyes with proper left hand. Mountains and cliffs located in the background. The left panel, depicting a scene identified as Christ being driven toward Golgotha, consists of a figure (identified as Christ) in drapery with a crown of thorns on his head carrying a large cross. A group of figures recede into the background where a castle-like structure is located. One figure of the group aids Christ by holding the bottom portion of the cross while another figure pulls Christ’s hair with his proper right hand and a club in his left. Tree frames the right edge of the background and extends into the central panel. Right panel, depicting a scene identified as Christ's resurrection, consists of a figure (identified as Christ) on top of a box-like structure (tomb) in perspective receding into space. Christ holds a staff with cross on top. Figures surrounding the tomb (identified as Roman soldiers) are either sleeping, such as the one in front of the tomb in the immediate foreground, or awaken by the resurrection of Christ such as the kneeling figure at the far right with arm extended upward. Mountainous landscape in background extends to central panel. All panels are set in a landscape setting of foliage in the immediate foreground and hills in the background.