Collection Online
Carved retable of the Passion of Christ

Carved retable of the Passion of Christ
(c. 1511-1520)

carved and polychromed wood, oil paint, wood
202.0 × 203.7 cm (overall) (closed) 202.0 × 401.0 cm (overall) (open)
Place/s of Execution
Antwerp, Flanders
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1937
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
16th & 17th Century Gallery - Painting and Sculpture
Mezzanine linked to Level 1, NGV International


One of the six frames on the altarpiece carries the impressed hands and castle of the Antwerp guild of St Luke.  All six frames on the carved altarpiece are original to the work.  Although the surfaces are not original, these are nevertheless the earliest frames by an identifiable source in the collection.  The hinges have been replaced, though the recesses for the original fittings remain on the case.  These frames, like those used on individual paintings at the time, are directly related to the architectural elements of windows, including the watershed bevel of the bottom edge.  Each of the frames has been taken apart to remove the panels, which were transferred to three ply between 1870-1880.  This was achieved by removing the dowel pins in the bottom corners and sliding off the lower frame member, the reverse in effect to the original, integrated assembly of the frames and panels. 1


1 For discussion of the framing of Flemish panels in the 15th and 16th centurys the reader is referred to Cadres et supports dans la peinture flammande aux 15e et 16e siècles.  Hélène Verougstraete-Marq et Rogier Van Schoute, Heure-le-Romain, 1989.

Unknown - 16th century Antwerp
c. 1511

The basic section for the frame is an ogee and bevel moulding made from oak.  The frame is assembled with a half-mitre joint at the top and through mortise and tenon at the lower edge, both pinned with oak dowels.  The outer surface is painted black, the profiled section at the sight edge is water gilded.


The frame is over-painted and re-gilded but retains the original disposition of surfaces.  A window cut through the overpainting reveals three different surfaces, including simulated wood grain, over the original warm, black paint layer.  The original gilding and preparation appear to have been removed prior to the current gilding.

116.0 x 50.0 x 4.0 cm; sight 104.5 x 39.0 cm