The Crucifixion, c. 1520
Flemish, 1466 - 1530
oil on oak
51 x 36.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 6190)
Jesus is dead. His mother Mary, John (his beloved disciple) and Mary Magdalene mourn him. Their sorrow is expressed physically: Mary turns inwards, John gazes up and outwards; the Magdalene, embracing the cross, is lost in grief. The scene elicits our compassion: we imagine and can share their differing reactions. The small scale encourages us to look closely, and secondary details amplify the story: soldiers ride into the distance as Christ's followers approach with a ladder to take his body for burial. Past the city of Jerusalem, a vista opens up to far mountains - the vast scale of the world itself brought within the small scope of the picture.
More from Quinten MassysThe Lamentation
68 x 137 cm