View full screen - View 1 of Lot 10. Christ as the Man of Sorrows.
10

Hispano-Flemish School, circa 1490

Christ as the Man of Sorrows

Estimate:

150,000

to
- 200,000 USD

Property of an American Private Collector

8

10

11

Hispano-Flemish School, circa 1490

Hispano-Flemish School, circa 1490

Christ as the Man of Sorrows

Christ as the Man of Sorrows

Estimate:

150,000

to
- 200,000 USD

Lot sold:

327,600

USD

Property of an American Private Collector

Hispano-Flemish School, circa 1490

Christ as the Man of Sorrows


oil on oak panel

15 3/4 by 12 1/4 in.; 40 by 31.1 cm. 

The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation LLC., 119 West 23rd Street, Suite 400, New York, NY 10011, 212-564-4024, info@thomasartconservation.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.


This painting has been very nicely restored and has a strong appearance. At least two passes of careful restoration exist, one of which is clearly visible under ultra-violet (UV) illumination and another that rests beneath a strongly fluorescing varnish and is therefore less obvious under UV. All the restoration is precise and very skillfully executed. The clusters of tiny strokes of retouching are primarily found in the darker areas of modeling and have been applied to knit together wear and allow the smooth modeling to read properly. Retouching also addresses a scratch in the arm on the right and possibly a loss in the hand. Some of the red lake paint used in the trails of blood have been reinforced. The varnish has yellowed slightly but retains an even gloss and adequately saturates the pigments.


The wood panel support appears to retain its original thickness and black painted surface on the reverse. A stepped edge along the bottom appears to be original; this bevel is extant only along the bottom edge which may indicate the panel was trimmed slightly at some point. The panel appears structurally sound and displays a very slight convex lateral warp.


This painting needs no conservation intervention beyond a surface cleaning to remove a light coat of dust and dirt and may be hung in its current state.


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

With Valery Taylor Gallery;
From whom acquired by Hester Diamond, New York, December 1990 (as Hispano Flemish Master, circa 1480-1500, trained in the circle of Hugo van der Goes);
From whom acquired by the present collector. 
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, on loan, 5 September - 6 December 2006.

In this small yet powerful depiction of Christ as the Man of Sorrows, Christ seems to release his final breath. The simplicity of the black background helps to draw all attention to Christ's corporeal figure, which extends outward toward the audience, particularly along the lower edge, creating an even more intimate engagement with the viewer. Christ's figure is perfectly balanced in the center of a simple composition, and the gold of the framing device is delicately replicated in the golden Fleur-de-lis rays that surround his down-turned head crowned with a thick wreath of thorns. Down his brightly illuminated body fall beads of blood, that both drip into his eyes and mouth, while also gathering in the crevice of his collarbone and the palm of his hand. Paralleling these droplets on his face are translucent beads of tears and sweat that fall downward to his beard.  


The origin of this striking image lies in a Byzantine icon housed in the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome by 1385-1386. It's popularity spread throughout Europe in the 15th century, and while it did find a strong foothold in the Netherlands, for example in the workshop of Hugo van der Goes, it was also popular throughout the Iberian peninsula, where such small paintings of devotion were in high demand.  


The specific painting method of the black hatching on the gold trompe-l’oeil frame is found in Rogier van der Weyden's Seven Sacraments Altarpiece (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp) as well as in the work of the Master of the Saint Ursula Legend, notably his Virgin and Child in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That these motifs entered into the work of Iberian artists is, of course, not at all surprising given the vast influx of Netherlandish art into the Burgundian ruled Spanish peninsula. The intensity and specificity with which Christ's blood, sweat, and tears are rendered, however, are a particularly Spanish trait.