Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Lamentation

Artist:
Petrus Christus (Netherlandish, Baarle-Hertog (Baerle-Duc), active by 1444–died 1475/76 Bruges)
Date:
ca. 1450
Medium:
Oil on wood
Dimensions:
Overall 10 1/8 x 14 in. (25.7 x 35.6 cm); painted surface 10 x 13 3/4 in. (25.4 x 34.9 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1890
Accession Number:
91.26.12
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 641
Intended for private devotion, this painting depicts the lamentation over Christ's dead body in terms conducive to empathetic contemplation. The figures of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lifting Christ’s dead body would have stood out, as they are dressed in contemporary attire, reflecting the viewer's own world. Mary’s limp pose is meant to suggest her co-suffering with her son and affirms her role as co-redeemer. The painting may have been exported to Italy, since it inspired a marble relief by Antonello Gagini in Palermo Cathedral, Sicily.
The Artist: For a biography of Petrus Christus, see the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.

The Subject and Function of the Painting: After Christ’s crucifixion, his corpse was taken down from the cross and prepared for burial. As the Gospel of Saint John (19:38–40) recounts, present were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, here at the left and right of Christ respectively, who gently place his lifeless body on a burial shroud. The emotional tenor of the moment—that is, the Lamentation—is manifest in the figure of the Virgin, who collapses in grief, supported by John and the urgently attentive Mary Magdalene.

This biblical story is presented as a current event, specifically intended to elicit the compassion and empathy of the viewer. Golgotha, the site of the Crucifixion, is placed in a Flemish lowland landscape with walled-in towns. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus appear in contemporary attire, again mirroring the viewer’s own world. Moreover, the visual approach to the story represents contemporary fifteenth-century religious doctrine.[1] Building on the twelfth-century writings of Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), Denis the Carthusian (1402–1471) expressed the notion that the Virgin Mary was not simply an accepting bystander at the Crucifixion. Instead, he proposed that her personal identification with Christ’s suffering was tantamount to martyrdom or even to death. In his estimation, she was the Salvatrix Mundi, just as Christ was the Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World), and an equal partner with her son in the process of human Redemption. The visual counterpart of this doctrine is expressed in the composition where the Virgin’s swooning pose replicates the languid, dead body of her son, and her prominence in the exact center of the painting equals that of Christ below her on the ground. Such concepts would have been familiar to contemporaries not only through written texts, but also through Passion plays of the day. In some, the viewer is invited to identify with a deferential Nicodemus, who says to Joseph of Arimathea, “Take thou the head, I shall take the feet.”[2] And in the plays of the York Realist, the two men raise and lower the body of Christ on the cloth in an action simulating the elevation of the Host during Mass, urging the devotee to contemplate the Host as the body of Christ.[3]

The tightly arranged and interlocking figures, presented in dramatic close-up in the foreground, indicate that this painting was intended for individual contemplation during private devotional practice. The panel’s diminutive size and the fact that it was originally painted within its frame—and not evidently part of a larger ensemble—would support this hypothesis (see Technical Notes). Two copies of The Met’s painting, one attributed to Adriaen Isenbrant and the other to Ambrosius Benson (Sotheby Parke Bernet, London, April 8, 1981, and church of San Esteban, Hormaza, Spain, respectively), testify to the popularity of this composition locally in Bruges. The Lamentation was apparently exported to Italy where a modified version of it in relief sculpture was produced by Antonello Gagini around 1507 for the cathedral in Palermo.

The Attribution and Date: As in the case of Jan van Eyck, whom Petrus Christus closely emulated, there are a number of surviving signed and/or dated paintings. Although the Lamentation does not carry such affirming identification, the style of the figures—their poses, attitudes, facial types, and draperies—and the landscape settings are so close to Christus’s signed and dated 1452 Annunciation and Nativity (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin; see Additional Images, fig. 1) that The Met’s painting must be by the same hand. In addition, the details of the painting’s technique and execution are characteristic of Christus as discussed in the 1994 study of his complete oeuvre (see Ainsworth 1994, pp. 33–53, and Technical Notes). The abundant underdrawing of the Lamentation exhibits Christus’s habitual summary preparatory sketch for the landscape and more detailed drawing for the modeling of figures (see Additional Images). For the latter, the even parallel hatching in brush for the faces of the figures and for their draperies focuses more on the issue of shading than on creating the volume of forms. This consideration helps to determine a dating of about 1450, since in the 1452 Berlin wings there is a further development that includes cross-hatching and a greater emphasis on the three-dimensional form of the figures, a trend as his work matures. In painting technique, Christus’s distinctive approach here, as elsewhere in his works, is allied not only with that of panel painters but also with that of manuscript illuminators (see Ainsworth 1994, pp. 33-36 and Technical Notes). This accounts for Christus’s remarkable handling and extraordinary life-like mimicking effects on a small scale and his unusual palette of high-key oranges, lime greens, and deep burgundy hues.

[Maryan W. Ainsworth 2018]

[1] See O.G. Simson, “Compassio and Co-redemptio in Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross,” Art Bulletin 35 (March 1953), pp. 9–16; and Denis the Carthusian, “De dignitate et laudibus B. V. Mariae,” in Opera omnia 36 (Tournai, 1908), p. 99, cited in Simson, p. 14, n. 36.
[2] L. Réau, Iconographie de l’art chrétien, 3 vols., 1955–59, vol. 2, p. 515.
[3] C. Davidson, “The Realism of the York Realist and the York Passion,” Speculum 50 (April 1975), pp. 270–83.
Support: The support is constructed from a single plank of oak from the Baltic/Polish region, oriented horizontally. Dendrochronological analysis indicated an earliest possible creation date of 1437 with a more plausible date of 1443 onwards.[1]

Unpainted margins and a barbe at the left, bottom, and right edges demonstrate that the panel was in an engaged frame when the ground was applied and that the original edges of the painting are preserved. The top edge of the unpainted margin of wood has been cut and the barbe largely lost, but traces of a thin black line around all edges of the painted composition, most likely from the original painted frame, indicate that the entire composition is preserved.[2] The panel, which retains its original back, measures about 1/4 inch (0.7cm) thick. There are bevels on the reverse, along all four edges, related to the framing of the panel.

Preparation: The panel was prepared with a white ground, containing calcium carbonate.[3] Examination with infrared reflectography revealed the presence of an extensive underdrawing, executed with a liquid medium[4] (see Additional Images, fig. 2). All major contours were underdrawn, and the composition was further developed with dense hatching in drapery, figures, and some faces, chiefly the Virgin and John. The artist used hatching more often to indicate shading than to create volume, although in some instances hatchmarks do allude to form, as in Christ’s torso. This is also the only occurrence of cross-hatching. Additionally, the artist used areas of hatching to indicate the locations of cast shadows.

Christus made several slight adjustments to the underdrawing when executing the painting, for example: Joseph of Arimathea’s right slipper, Christ’s left toes, the buttons on John’s cloak, John’s hair and cloak, the tree to his right, and Nicodemus’s right arm. These changes, though slight, reveal the fine-tuning in order to harmonize all elements in this carefully conceived composition. In addition, he modified the architecture in the landscape, changing the stepped gable of the building at far left to a simple, sloped roof and the more elongated underdrawn towers to squatter structures.

Paint Layers: This diminutive composition was painted with a refined hand, by an artist who had a superb understanding of materials. Christus built up his forms, principally the fleshtones, in a manner reminiscent of an illuminator. He used fine strokes of paint with varying amounts of lead white mixed in, almost as one would use a water-based paint like tempera or distemper. This is a different approach than that typical of fifteenth-century Netherlandish oil painting in which white is reserved for highlights and midtones and shadows are created with darker glazes of paint. As a result the x-radiograph of the Lamentation shows a more even distribution of lead white across the fleshtones, particularly in the male faces, as opposed to the sharper concentration of lead white seen in x-radiographs of most paintings from the mid- to late fifteenth century (see Additional Images, fig. 3). Christus did make use of glazes, but in the costumes and the background.

Interestingly, the artist carried his underdrawing approach into his painting, occasionally using strokes of hatching in the painting that are similar to those in the underdrawing. See, for example, the folds of Christ’s loincloth and shroud (Additional Images, fig. 4). Close study reveals Christus’s attention to tiny details, for instance, the highlights on the Virgin’s eyelashes and the dried blood on the stake at lower right. He also occasionally used wet-in-wet strokes, as seen in the pyxis to the right of the Magdalene (see Additional Images, fig. 5). The only change introduced during painting was the addition of fur to the edges of Nicodemus’s red mantle.

The painting is in an excellent state of preservation. The primary material alteration is the slight discoloration of what appear to be copper-containing green glazes to brown, particularly evident where they are more thinly applied in the grassy ground.

[Sophie Scully 2018]

[1] Wood identification and dendrochronological analysis completed by Dr. Peter Klein, Universität Hamburg, dated May 12, 1997. The report can be found in the files of the Department of Paintings Conservation. The youngest heartwood ring was formed out in the year 1426. Regarding the sapwood statistic of Eastern Europe an earliest felling date can be derived for the year 1435, more plausible is a felling date between 1439..1441….1445 +x. With a minimum of two years for seasoning an earliest creation of the painting is possible from 1437 upwards. Under the assumption of a median of fifteen sapwood rings and two years for seasoning, as probably usual in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, a creation is plausible from 1443 upwards.
[2] See Sperling 1998, p. 98. The panel has not been cut down at the top edge as once thought.
[3] The calcium carbonate was identified by microchemical testing conducted by Chris McGlinchey, Research Scientist, 1992.
[4] Infrared reflectography completed with an OSIRIS InGaAs near-infrared camera with a 6-element, 150mm focal length f/5.6–f/45 lens; 900-1700nm spectral response, August 2017.
Albert John Hamborough, Steephill Castle, Ventnor, Isle of Wight (until 1887); Sir John Charles Robinson, Newton Manor, Swanage, Dorset (from 1887); Henry G. Marquand, New York (by 1889–90)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Nudes in Landscapes: Four Centuries of a Tradition," May 18–August 5, 1973, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges," April 14–July 31, 1994, no. 8.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 22, 1998–February 21, 1999, no. 4.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Antonello da Messina: Sicily's Renaissance Master," December 13, 2005–March 5, 2006, no cat. number.

W. Bode. "Alte Kunstwerke in den Sammlungen der Vereinigten Staaten." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 6, no. 1 (1895), p. 17, calls this picture an especially fine example of Christus's work.

Morton H. Bernath. New York und Boston. Leipzig, 1912, p. 52, pl. 48.

Walter Cohen in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme. Vol. 8, Leipzig, 1913, p. 125, lists it as an early work in the style of the Crucifixion at Wörlitz [the "Dessau Crucifixion," destroyed].

Max J. Friedländer. Von Eyck bis Bruegel: Studien zur Geschichte der Niederländischen Malerei. Berlin, 1916, pp. 21–22, considers this painting little more than a schematic version of Eyckian art.

Ludwig von Baldass. "Ein Frühwerk des Geertgen tot Sint Jans und die holländische Malerei des XV. Jahrhunderts." Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien 35 (1920–21), p. 12, observes that it appears to belong at the beginning of Christus's artistic development and considers it free from the influence of the mature art of Jan van Eyck.

Martin Conway. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London, 1921, p. 110, calls it an earlier version of the "Lamentation" in Brussels, which he dates 1460 or later.

Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 1, Die Van Eyck, Petrus Christus. Berlin, 1924, pp. 151–52, 157, 170, pl. 60, comments on its independence from Jan van Eyck and calls it a work of Christus's mature period; dates it soon after 1450 ("c. 1460" on p. 170) and calls the Brussels Lamentation the latest of Christus's known works.

Willy Burger. Die Malerei in den Niederlanden 1400–1550. Munich, 1925, pp. 35, 90, pl. 120, attributes this picture and the Dessau Crucifixion to a somewhat younger contemporary of Ouwater and observes that Dülberg claimed these works for the Dutch school; dates this painting about 1470.

Otto Pächt. "Die Datierung der Brüsseler Beweinung des Petrus Christus." Belvedere 10 (1926), pp. 158–60, pl. 10, dates it after the Brussels Lamentation, which he places among Christus's earliest works; notes that in both paintings the motif of the collapsing Virgin is borrowed from Rogier's Descent from the Cross (Prado, Madrid).

[Hippolyte] Fierens-Gevaert. Histoire de la peinture flamande des origines à la fin du XVe siècle. Vol. 2, Les continuateurs des Van Eyck. Paris, 1928, p. 92, pl. 70, fig. 116.

Franz Dülberg. Niederländische Malerei der Spätgotik und Renaissance. Potsdam, 1929, p. 34, places this painting before the Brussels Lamentation, which he dates shortly after 1460.

Chandler Rathfon Post. A History of Spanish Painting. Vol. 4, The Hispano-Flemish Style in Northwestern Spain. Cambridge, Mass., 1933, part 1, p. 29, publishes an early copy of this painting (fig. 2), the central panel of a triptych in the parish church of Hormaza, west of Burgos.

J[acques]. Lavalleye in "De vlaamsche schilderkunst tot ongeveer 1480." Geschiedenis van de vlaamsche kunst. Ed. Stan Leurs. Antwerp, 1936, p. 184, dates this picture about 1460 and the Brussels Lamentation about 1465.

Alan Burroughs. Art Criticism from a Laboratory. Boston, 1938, p. 250, figs. 122, 123 (shadowgraph detail).

Wolfgang Schöne. Dieric Bouts und seine Schule. Berlin, 1938, pp. 25, 57, no. 15, dates it shortly before 1457.

Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 19–20, ill., observe that it "gives the impression of being one of his [Christus's] early works".

Germain Bazin. "Petrus Christus et les rapports entre l'Italie et la Flandre au milieu du XVe siècle." Revue des arts 4 (December 1952), pp. 199, 200, 204, 208, figs. 2, 6, 8 (overall and details), places this painting in a group of works by Christus which he feels belongs to the pictorial conception of the quattrocento, particularly that of Antonello.

Erwin Panofsky. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Cambridge, Mass., 1953, vol. 1, pp. 235, 309, 488 n. 4; vol. 2, pl. 251, fig. 404, notes similarities of this painting to the Turin Pietà attributed to Hand "H," but rejects identification of Hand "H" with Petrus Christus; calls our picture a plainer, considerably later variant of the Brussels Lamentation.

Leo van Puyvelde. La peinture flamande au siècle des van Eyck. Paris, 1953, p. 192, calls it a simplified replica of the Brussels picture.

Wolfgang Schöne. "Die drei Marien am Grabe Christi." Zeitschrift für Kunstwissenschaft 8 (1954), pp. 146, 148–50, fig. 11, dates it about 1452 or somewhat later.

Georges Marlier. "Beweinung Ysenbrants nach Petrus Christus." Weltkunst 25 (March 1, 1955), p. 12, publishes a copy of our picture recently acquired by the Galerie de Heuvel (Brussels) and attributes it to Isenbrant.

Georges Marlier. Ambrosius Benson et la peinture à Bruges au temps de Charles-Quint. Damme, Belgium, 1957, p. 213 n. 12.

Josua Bruyn. Van Eyck problemen. Utrecht, 1957, pp. 109–10, 149, dates it between 1450 and 1455.

Jacques Lavalleye. Collections d'Espagne [Les primitifs flamands, II: Répertoire des peintures flamandes des quinzième et seizième siècles, vol. 2]. Antwerp, 1958, p. 32, discusses it in relation to the Hormaza copy (no. 81, pl. 21).

Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 41–42, 111, fig. 6, places it very early in Christus's evolution, before he came under Eyckian influence.

David G. Carter. "The Providence Crucifixion: Its Place and Meaning for Dutch Fifteenth Century Painting." Bulletin of Rhode Island School of Design 48 (May 1962), p. 21 n. 3.

Hélène Adhémar. Le Musée National du Louvre, Paris. I [Les primitifs flamands, I: Corpus de la peinture des anciens pays-bas méridionaux au quinzième siècle, vol. 5]. Brussels, 1962, p. 69, mentions it in connection with a Pietà by Christus in the Louvre (RF 1951-45).

John Rowlands. "A Man of Sorrows by Petrus Christus." Burlington Magazine 104 (October 1962), p. 420, dates it in the 1450s and comments on the close kinship between the figure of the dead Christ in this picture and the figure of Christ in Christus's "Man of Sorrows" (City Art Gallery, Birmingham, England).

Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 1, The van Eycks—Petrus Christus. New York, 1967, pp. 85–86, 88, 95, pl. 84.

Charles D. Cuttler. Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel. New York, 1968, p. 131, dates it "a few years later (ten at most)" than the Brussels Lamentation.

Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 74 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].

Lola B. Gellman. "The 'Death of the Virgin' by Petrus Christus: An Altar-piece Reconstructed." Burlington Magazine 112 (March 1970), p. 148, dates it somewhat earlier than Christus's "Death of the Virgin" (Timken Art Gallery, San Diego).

Lola B. Malkis Gellman. "Petrus Christus." PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 1970, pp. 205–9, 231–34, 248, 273, 347 nn. 107–8, pp. 402, 407, 429, 431–33, 445, 485, no. 15, fig. 51, compares the figure types and composition to those in other works by Christus.

Charles Sterling. "Observations on Petrus Christus." Art Bulletin 53 (March 1971), pp. 9, 21, 24, figs. 22, 24, 40 (overall and details), groups it with other works by Christus which he feels are influenced by early Eyckian art and dates it about 1433–35(?).

Joel M. Upton. "Petrus Christus." PhD diss., Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., 1972, pp. 20–21, 104–6, 109, 284, 295, 303–5, 311, 366, 373–78, 389, no. 22, fig. 22, suggests a date of 1444–45 and places the Brussels composition in 1449; notes that the copy in Spain of our picture is part of a triptych in which the left wing portrays Saint Anthony and a donor in a manner similar to the Christus altar wing in Copenhagen; suggests that our "Lamentation" might be a reduced version of the main panel of an altarpiece of which only the Copenhagen wing survives.

Peter H. Schabacker. Petrus Christus. Utrecht, 1974, pp. 32, 35 n. 27, pp. 38, 40, 42, 46–50, 58–59, 72, 75, 101–2, 105–6, 120, no. 11, fig. 11, observes that the figures of the Virgin and Saint John are taken from Rogier's "Descent from the Cross" (Prado, Madrid) and sees a source for the Magdalen in the midwife in the "Birth of Saint John the Baptist" (Milan-Turin Hours); dates our picture shortly after 1452 and the Brussels Lamentation about 1465–70.

Ottmar Kerber. "Rogier van der Weyden." Giessener Beiträge zur Kunstgeschichte 3 (1975), pp. 18–19.

Ursula Panhans-Bühler. Wiener Kunstgeschichtliche Forschungen. Vol. 5, Eklektizismus und Originalität im Werk des Petrus Christus. Vienna, 1978, pp. 16–17, 54–57, 67–70, 73–75, fig. 43, calls it a late work.

Barbara G. Lane. The Altar and the Altarpiece: Sacramental Themes in Early Netherlandish Painting. New York, 1984, p. 95, fig. 63, discusses the central role played by the Virgin in this composition, and relates it to other similar works.

Colin T. Eisler in Liber Amicorum Herman Liebaers. Ed. Frans Vanwijngaerden et al. Brussels, 1984, p. 462.

John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. Edward Chaney and Neil Ritchie. London, 1984, p. 231.

Introduction by James Snyder in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Renaissance in the North. New York, 1987, pp. 10, 27, ill. (color).

Ben Broos. Meesterwerken in het Mauritshuis. The Hague, 1987, p. 406.

Joel M. Upton. Petrus Christus: His Place in Fifteenth-Century Flemish Painting. University Park, Pa., 1990, pp. 44–46, 70, fig. 37, dates it about 1444.

Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke in Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 20, 24, 323, no. 149, ill.

Hans J. van Miegroet. "The Sign of the Rose: A Fifteenth-Century Flemish Passion Scene." Metropolitan Museum Journal 27 (1992), pp. 77, 83 n. 1, fig. 2.

Paul Philippot. La peinture dans les anciens pays-bas, XVe–XVIe siècles. Paris, 1994, pp. 41–42, fig. 32.

Hans Belting and Christiane Kruse. Die Erfindung des Gemäldes: Das erste Jahrhundert der niederländischen Malerei. Munich, 1994, p. 201.

Maryan W. Ainsworth. Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 35–36, 41, 83–84, 106–11, 115, 123, no. 8, ill. p. 107 (color) and figs. 31–32, 34, 102, 118–119 (detail x-radiograph and infrared reflectograms), believes that new information gathered through infrared reflectography supports a date of about 1450 and confirms the connection of Christus's technique with manuscript illumination; notes that the iconography follows accounts of contemporary Passion plays, particularly of the York Realist [about 1425, so-called because of his realistic description of the Passion] .

Peter Klein in Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Dendrochronological Analysis of Panels Attributed to Petrus Christus." Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, p. 215, gives estimated felling date as 1441 and the presumed date of execution (plus ten years storage) as 1451.

Paul Jeromack. "New Light on Old Masters." Art & Antiques 17, no. 5 (1994), p. 76.

Peter Klein. "Dendrochronological Findings of the Van Eyck–Christus–Bouts Group." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, pp. 154, 162.

Lorne Campbell. "Approaches to Petrus Christus." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 7.

Hélène Verougstraete and Roger van Schoute. "La 'Lamentation' de Petrus Christus." Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 1995, p. 202.

Otto Pächt. Early Netherlandish Painting from Rogier van der Weyden to Gerard David. Ed. Monika Rosenauer. London, 1997, p. 80, ill. p. 83.

Della Clason Sperling in From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. vii, 12, 65, 98, 109, 287, no. 4, ill. p. 99 (color), dates it about 1450.

John Oliver Hand. "New York. From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Burlington Magazine 140 (December 1998), p. 854.

Cyriel Stroo et al. The Flemish Primitives II: Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Vol. 2, The Dirk Bouts, Petrus Christus, Hans Memling and Hugo van der Goes Groups. Brussels, 1999, pp. 152, 158, fig. 77.

Till-Holger Borchert. "Collecting Early Netherlandish Paintings in Europe and the United States." Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research. Ed. Bernhard Ridderbos et al. English ed. Amsterdam, 2005, p. 204, fig. 113 [Dutch ed., "'Om iets te weten van de oude meesters'. De Vlaamse Primitieven—herontdekking, waardering en onderzoek," Nijmegen, 1995].

Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa in Antonello da Messina: l'opera completa. Ed. Mauro Lucco. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2006, p. 300.

Karen Wilkin. "Antonello da Messina at the Met." New Criterion 24 (February 2006), p. 48.

A larger, similar Lamentation attributed to Christus is in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (98 x 188 cm; Friedländer 1967, pl. 93). It has been dated both before and after the MMA picture. A third picture of this subject, also ascribed to Christus, is in the Louvre, Paris (36 x 25 cm; Friedländer 1967, pl. 85). An early copy of the MMA painting by a sixteenth-century Flemish artist, possibly Isenbrant, hangs in the parish church of Hormaza, west of Burgos (Lavalleye 1958, pl. XXI). A second copy, in Galerie de Heuvel, Brussels, in 1955, was sold at Sotheby's, London, April 8, 1981, no. 57, as by Isenbrant.
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