After Pieter Aertsen, 'Christ Bearing the Cross'

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Maker
Pieter Aertsen
Origin
Antwerp
Period
C. 1550
Material
Oil on panel
Dimensions
111.5 x 169 cm
Literature

M. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, vol. XIII, Leiden 1975, p. 99, no. 311, pl. 155

Museums

Further examples were in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin (destroyed in 1945) and in the Kling collection, Stockholm (sale, Christie’s, London, 28 June 1935, lot 9).

Provenance

Sotheby's, Londen (Engeland), Marshall Brooks, 1946-02-13, lotnr. 61
Sotheby's, Londen (Engeland), 1978-12-13, lotnr. 74
Sotheby's, Londen (Engeland), 1986-02-19 - 1986-02-20, lotnr. 43
Private collection W. Gaskell Harvey
Private collection, Vicenza

The present painting is based on a composition by Pieter Aertsen in the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp. The painting depicts various episodes of the Crucifixion. Under the watchful eye of farmers who travel to the city market and from citizens who witness the journey to Golgotha ​​from Jerusalem, Christ, accompanied by his helper Simon the Cyrener, carries his cross along the group of John Evangelista, the three Marys and his fainting Mother. One of the thieves carries a cross before they both are undressed for their execution. Following the road people witness the cross being erected with the already crucified Christ. On the left, the good thief (Dismas) rises the ladder to be crucified. Next to Dismas soldiers are throwing dice for Christ's clothes. In the right top corner the cross is erected for the bad thief (Gestas).

Although Pieter Aertsen (1508-1575), known as ‘Lange Pier’, came from Amsterdam, he lived in Antwerp for many years. After he returned in 1556, various Amsterdam churches, his principal patrons, commissioned Aertsen to make large altarpieces. Soon, however, he abandoned religious art and started to paint scenes from peasant life. He was known above all for his paintings of market scenes and kitchen tableaux, which contained an abundance of fruit, fish, poultry, cheese, bread and much besides. His younger cousin and pupil Joachim Bueckelaer also painted in the same genre and developed it further.

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