Collection Online

The Descent from the Cross
(c. 1511-1520)

oil on wood panel
106.0 × 72.0 cm irreg.
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1931
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International
From the thirteenth century onwards the anguished last days of Christ’s life became the dramatic centre of devotional literature, art, and music. These episodes, known collectively as the Passion, culminated in the Crucifixion and demanded new levels of expression on the part of artists. This panel shows how a Passion subject evolved in the hands of the skilled painters of the Southern Netherlands. The holy persons are portrayed in contemporary dress, placing the biblical drama in the present. Originally flanked with wings, the work would have been commissioned as a private altarpiece for a wealthy patron, shown here dressed in fine brocades lowering Christ to the ground.