Offered by Galerie Thierry Matranga
Old paintings, religious artifacts, archeology
Flemish school of the second quarter of the 16th century, workshop of Pieter Coecke van Aelst I, oils on parquet panels.
The two saints represented on our panels are Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene, whose gaze converges on a central point: a third panel that has disappeared, our paintings being certainly the side panels of a triptych. Thus, Joseph of Arimathea holds the Holy Crown in the Shroud, in order to collect the blood of Christ that he will later pour into the legendary Holy Grail. Beside him, Mary Magdalene, in mourning, holds her famous attribute: the finely wrought vase containing the perfumes she used to anoint Jesus' feet at Simon's Supper. These two works are very characteristic of Antwerp mannerism, embodied here in the noble and graceful gestures of the two saints. The perfect face of Mary Magdalene reveals generous cheeks on which round tears flow, announcing her future penitence. The whimsical hat worn by Joseph of Arimathea is reminiscent of the treatment he received from Flemish artists of the early Renaissance, and his thin beard, enhanced by golden lines, is similar to those worn by the adoring Magi in the Nativity triptychs painted by Pieter Coecke van Aelst.
In this case, our panels are very similar to those in the Museum of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, which, according to the art historian Georges Marlier, were to form a triptych with the Descent from the Cross in the T. G. Dowson collection in Manchester. Both our paintings and those in San Francisco show small groups of figures in the background of each saint, working in a landscape that has been partially cut off in our version due to the rectangularization of the panels. The faces of our saints show physiognomic characteristics typical of Pieter Coecke's art: dimpled chin and small lips for Mary Magdalene, large beard for Joseph of Arimathea. Nevertheless, some differences can be noticed in the costumes: Mary Magdalene having abandoned her black doublet for a golden dress made of fine brocade and Joseph of Arimathea wearing a golden jacket here. Notwithstanding these subtle differences, the artist manages to convey the immense sadness of those who, having witnessed the climax of the Passion, were the first witnesses to the redemption of Original Sin and the establishment of the reign of Grace.
Our two panels are elegantly underlined by carved and gilded wooden entablature frames.
Dimensions : 52 x 23,5 cm - 67 x 38 cm with the frames