Gerard David, circle of - The Lamentation of Christ - image-1

Lot 2002 Nα

Gerard David, circle of - The Lamentation of Christ

Auction 1175 - overview Cologne
05.06.2021, 11:00 - Paintings and Drawings 15th to 19th C.
Estimate: 80.000 € - 100.000 €
Result: 100.000 € (incl. premium)

Gerard David, circle of

The Lamentation of Christ

Oil on panel. 32.5 x 22.5 cm (incl. frame).

The composition of this narrow-format Lamentation focuses on the three figure group consisting of of the semi-elevated body of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and Saint John. The Evangelist supports the body of Christ with covered hands whilst Mary embraces him with both arms. They are shown close together, their faces almost touching, and the heads of both Mary and John touch that of the Saviour. The palette is dominated by the three colours used in the robes: The intense, vivid red of Saint John's garments and the deep blue of the Virgin's fur-trimmed cloak are accented by the shining white of her headdress, Christ's perizonium and the drapery upon which His body is lain. All of the clothing and fabrics are meticulously observed with complex and detailed folds, the faces are equally finely painted and express the grief felt over the harrowing events of the Passion in a touching manner. The place of the Lamentation is set clearly in scene: Mount Calvary is depicted with the cross, the top of which is cut off by the curved upper edge of the oak panel, and the silhouette of the city of Jerusalem can be seen in the background, partially concealed behind a mountain range.
The painting can be linked to the works of Gerard David, whose oeuvre is considered the final culmination of the traditional Bruges school of painting. David dominated the artistic landscape of Bruges for more than two decades in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and his influence is felt in the works of many contemporaries and successors. The theme of the Lamentation of Christ was extremely popular in Bruges at this time, and Gerard David created several versions of this subject. The group of figures of Mary and Christ with the embrace motif in the present work is found in a similar, albeit mirrored, composition in a painting by David in London's National Gallery (inv. no. 1078). There, however, Saint John is depicted at a somewhat greater distance from Christ and Mary and the composition is extended to include four additional figures, including Mary Magdalene at Christ's feet. This painting is even closer to the version in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (inv. no. 328). Here, the composition is also concentrated on the group of three, again reproduced in a mirror image, extended only by the separate kneeling figure of Mary Magdalene. The intimate and close relationship between Christ, the mourning Mother of God and Saint John is also even more reminiscent of the present version.
This small, exceptionally finely painted panel with a poignant depiction of the Lamentation probably originally served as an image for private devotion, inviting the viewer to re-enact the Passion of Christ.


Auction Christie’s, New York, 28.1.2015, lot 145. - European Private Collection.