Pieter van Avont, 'Angels taking the Cross to Heaven'

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The Netherlands
First half 17th century
Oil on panel, grisaille
19.8 cm
13.5 cm

Two similar grisailles in the collection of The University Museum Uppsala

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This 17th-century grisaille depicts a number of angels taking up the cross in heaven and a group of angels holding the instruments of the crucifixion and the Veronika cloth. The plump putti are characteristic of the Baroque work of Pieter van Avont (Mechelen 1600 - Deurne 1652). He often worked together with Jan Brueghel the Elder, by whom he was strongly influenced. Besides paintings, he made drawings and prints. Among his pupils were Frans and Pieter Wouters and Peter van de Cruys.

In the foreground are the instruments of the Passion: a dish for vinegar, the crown of thorns, the INRI inscription, a hammer, pincers and nails, a scourge and a sponge on a stick. One of the angels holds a spear. The face of Christ on Veronica's canvas is clearly depicted. The painting can be compared with two small mythological representations with putti, also executed in grisaille technique on panel by Pieter van Avont in the University Museum of Uppsala.


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