circle of: Rogier van der Weyden
Flemish, c.1399-1464

Crucifixion with the Donor Brother Amelius of Emael, c. 1465
Oil on oak panel
Purchase, Betsy Mudge Wilson, class of 1956, Memorial Fund; Pratt Fund; Suzette Morton Davidson, class of 1934, Fund; Francis Woolsey and Helen Silkman Bronson, class of 1924, Fund
Period: 15th c
Classification: Painting
Dimensions: Framed: 17 5/8 x 17 1/8 in. (44.77 x 43.5 cm) Image: 13 1/2 x 13 3/4 in. (34.29 x 34.93 cm) Unframed: 14 x 14 1/4 in. (35.56 x 36.2 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Inscribed (CL): fr. amelius. de emael; (UC): ___(illegible) RE FILIVS DEI ERAT ISTE; (verso, per Marco Grassi condition report of April 1995): 1867.116 / 6653 x 10 / Receipt and Item #M1528013
Provenance v
This work has been examined by the Provenance Project, 05-06
Published References v
Mundy, James, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center: Vassar College The History and Collection (New York: Prestel Publishing, 2007), p. 27, p. 26 repr.
Description v
Up until the acquisition of this fine example in 1995, Vassar owned no northern European painting of the fifteenth century. The present example, deaccessioned from the collection of the New York Historical Society, where it had resided since 1867, is an immaculate example of the physical realism of Early Netherlandish painters in the tradition of Jan van Eyck, and of the emotional realism that issued from the studio of Flanders’ other great practi- tioner, Rogier van der Weyden of Brussels, in whose studio the artist of this panel trained. The precise rendering of the green and golden brocade of the judge’s robes and the lancet windows reflected in the armor of the soldier testify to the ability of this anonymous artist. Issuing from the mouth of the judge are the Latin words: re filius dei erat iste (truly the Man was the Son of God). Technical analysis has determined that the artist made several changes to the composition, including adding the donor figure, prominently identified as “Fr[ate] Aurelius de Emael,” after the panel was completed, necessitating the repositioning of the hands of the grief-stricken Virgin from a gesture similar to that of the donor’s praying gesture to one of collapse. Before being given to the New York Historical Society, the painting was owned by Thomas Jefferson Bryan (1802–1870), a New Yorker who amassed a large collection of Old Master paintings between 1830 and 1850, later installed in the Bryan Gallery of Christian Art on Lower Broadway in New York City.
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