- Ambrosius Benson
- The Crucifixion, with scenes from the Passion beyond
- oil on panel, arched top
With Katz, The Hague and Dieren;
Dr. C. ten Horn, Nijmegen;
With J.H. Borghouts, Utrecht;
A. van Stolk-Carp, Wassenaar, by circa 1950, probably purchased from the above;
Thence by inheritance to the present owner.
With an old, damaged, undecipherable Rijksmuseum exhibition label on the reverse.
G. Marlier, Ambrosius Benson et la Peinture à Bruges au Temps de Charles-Quint, Damme 1957, pp. 95–96, 291, cat. no. 33, reproduced plate X.
The figure of Christ is ultimately borrowed from Rogier van der Weyden’s Crucifixion now in Vienna in which He appears with head slumped onto His right shoulder, knees bent, His right foot placed over His left.1 Benson used this figure type in another work of the same subject now in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.2 There is a distinct David-ian influence in the protagonists at the foot of the cross, the St. John supporting the fainting Mary recalling the same figures to the left of David’s own Crucifixion in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.3 The detailed background landscape is loosely based on Memling’s Passion in Turin. It is however painted in a distinct manner, quite different from the smoothly rendered principal figures that are so typical of Benson and the Bruges school, and recalls certain painters active in Antwerp during the same period. The group of figures to the right, fighting over St Joseph’s mantle, are also distinct from the protagonists and may be by the same hand as the landscape. Marlier noted in their execution a resemblance to the work Bernard van Orley.
We are grateful to Peter van den Brink for endorsing the attribution of the principal figures to Benson. Till Holger Borchert however, while noting the evident quality of the painting, sees influences in the painting of each of Benson, Adriaen Isenbrandt and Jan Provoost and so prefers not to commit to an attribution, considering it as Bruges workshop, circa 1530–40.
1 M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, vol. II, Leiden 1967, p. 62, no. 11, reproduced plates 18 and 19.
2 M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, vol. XI, Leiden 1974, p. 95, no. 248, reproduced plate 167.
3 M.W. Ainsworth, Gerard David, New York 1998, reproduced p. 123, fig. 125.