Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Christ Bearing the Cross

Northern French Painter (ca. 1480)
Oil on wood
14 3/4 x 10 5/8 in. (37.5 x 27 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
Not on view
This painting is one of a number that formerly were attributed to the Valenciennes artist Simon Marmion (active by 1449, died 1489). Although numerous manuscipt illuminations by Marmion are known, there are no documented paintings. The Saint Bertin Altarpiece (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin) has been assigned to Marmion on little more than circumstantial evidence. Among the finest of the paintings grouped around it are a Crucifixion in the John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a Lamentation in the Robert Lehman Collection (1975.1.128) at the Metropolitan Museum. The present picture is markedly inferior to these in quality. It is closely related stylistically to a Christ before Caiaphas in the Johnson Collection and may be by the same hand.
baron Tolin, Paris (until 1914; as by Simon Marmion, sold to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, Paris and New York, 1914–23; sold for $2,500 to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1923–d. 1931)
New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Loan Exhibition of French Primitives and Objects of Art," October 17–November 12, 1927, no. 19 (lent by Colonel M. Friedsam).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.

Max J. Friedländer. Unpublished opinion. June 17, 1914, on the back of a photograph, believes this picture was made in the Franco-Flemish border region, perhaps in Valenciennes, about 1470; relates it to the altarpiece of the monastery of Saint Omer [Saint Bertin altarpiece] of about 1460, attributed to Simon Marmion, the shutters of which are now in Berlin [Gemäldegalerie].

Louis Réau. "Une collection de primitifs français en Amérique." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 13 (January 1926), p. 6, calls it "attributed to Simon Marmion," observing that it recalls the figure types of Dieric Bouts.

Louis Réau. "Une exposition de primitifs français à New-York." La Renaissance 10 (October 1927), p. 442, ill., as by Simon Marmion.

Louis Réau in Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of French Primitives. Exh. cat., New York. New York, 1927, pp. 54–55, no. 19, ill., attributes it to Simon Marmion and sees in the elongated figures and certain features of the costumes a kinship with Bouts; notes that the soldier dragging Jesus by a cord is almost identical to a figure in a panel depicting the "Discovery of the Holy Cross" in the Louvre [probably "The Miracle of the True Cross," now attributed to Simon Marmion]; suggests this panel is a part of a pictorial cycle of the Passion.

Louis Réau in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], pp. 199–200, as a work by Marmion .

? F[riedländer]. M[ax]. "Illustrierte Berichte." Pantheon 1 (January 1928), p. 52.

Katharine Grant Sterne. "The French Primitives in the Friedsam Collection." Parnassus 4 (January 1932), p. 9, calls its figure drawing, color, and impasto typical of Marmion.

Charles Sterling. La peinture française: Les peintres du moyen age. Paris, 1942, p. 64, (of Répertoire), no. 40, suggests it is by a minor Netherlandish painter working under the influence of the School of Simon Marmion and dates it about 1470; notes, however, that silhouettes, gestures and faces are remote from those in Marmion's Saint Bertin Altarpiece in Berlin [Gemäldegalerie].

Charles Sterling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. Vol. 1, XV–XVIII Centuries. Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 12–13, ill., dates it to about 1480; ascribes it to a northern French painter perhaps active in Picardy or Hainaut, noting that it has features in common with a group of works usually ascribed to Marmion, who was active in the region: the stiff caricatured faces with large eyes and heavy eyelids, the brilliant and flat coloring with prevailing tones of yellow, orange, and blue-green, and the naive landscape.

John G. Johnson Collection: Catalogue of Flemish and Dutch Paintings. Philadelphia, 1972, p. 53, notes that, "among others, Stang [?]" feels the a Christ before Caiaphas in the Philadelphia Museum, attributed to the School of Simon Marmion about 1480, is closely related to our panel.

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