Lot 7
  • 7

Flemish School, circa 1520

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Christ as Salvator Mundi
  • oil on panel


Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 19 March 1965, lot 34 (as the Master of the Mansi Magdalen), for 250 Guineas, to Lampon.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work is framed behind glass and is in very good condition overall. The panel is cradled. There is an original join in the panel running vertically through the hair on the right side of the head of Christ. There is another thin break in the panel in the center of the orb running into the small house. The gilding and most of the details in the jewelry and scepter seem to be very well preserved. Some weakness seems to have developed in the darker colors of the red robe, and there are a few retouches here. Some of the most subtle transitions in the cheeks and around the eyes of the figure have become slightly weak, but the retouching here, such as it is, is very fine. The cracks in the panel should be rejoined, and a small amount of retouching would be necessary.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

The composition of this striking and powerful image of Christ as Salvator Mundi (savior of the world) derives from a work by the Antwerp master Quentin Massys (1466-1530) which, in turn, was derived from the crowning figure of Christ in Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s 1432 Ghent Altarpiece.1  The Massys prototype is a bust-length image of Christ, with only part of his raised hand and the top part of the cross visible.  The present composition depicting Christ’s full torso and with the inclusion of the orb was produced in numerous variations by Massys’s workshop and by close followers.  Indeed, this painting was at one time ascribed to the Master of the Mansi Magdalene (active circa 1515-1525) (see Provenance), an artist who is closely associated with Massys and may have worked in his studio.  Other similar known examples can be found in the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh (Attributed to Quentin Massys and Studio) and in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, UK (Studio of Quentin Massys).  The latter is particularly close to the present example in the more voluminous depiction of the folds of Christ’s drapery and the large trefoil-shaped clasp at his breast.

Despite the clear derivation of the present work from northern prototypes, there is something unusual, particularly in the physiognomy of Christ, that has led some Northern scholars to speculate a possible Spanish origin for this painting or, at least, possible Spanish influence. The painting is on an oak panel and, therefore, probably of Northern origin, while the embellished gold rays around Christ’s head are more characteristic of works painted for the Spanish market.  The refined painting style and distinctly Flemish landscape within the orb indicate that this Salvator Mundi was probably painted by a Northern artist working in Spain and, therefore, painted more for the tastes of a Spanish clientele.


1.  In, respectively, the collection of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, and St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent.