Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Master of The Virgo Inter Virgines, possibly about 1486

WAG 1014

About this object

Christ’s friends have brought his body to his mother. She sinks to her knees, supported by St. John, and accompanied by two holy women.The scene is one of horror and desolation, as expressed through the pale, skull-like faces and the barren landscape.

The Dutch painter is not known by name, but his work is so distinctive that a group of about 20 paintings can be firmly attributed to him. Of them, this is perhaps his masterpiece. Many Dutch paintings were destroyed in the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. Surviving works such as this are, therefore, all the more precious.

William Roscoe owned a large library and collection of prints. He often used them to give attributions to his paintings. When he bought this painting shortly after 1807 it was attributed to a German printmaker Israhel van Meckenem. Roscoe also owned nine of his prints so he knew that ‘his manner was wholly different’ to that of the painting. He believed wrongly that it was by Jan van Eyck of Ghent.

Recent research suggests that the unknown artist may have trained in Ghent with Joos van Wassenhoeve (active 1460-80) and that he then worked in Delft. He is named after his best known work showing the Virgin seated among female saints, the Virgo inter Virgines in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    The Entombment
  • Artist(s)
    Master of The Virgo Inter Virgines (Netherlandish, born:unknown, died:unknown)
  • Date
    possibly about 1486
  • Materials
    Panel; Oil paint
  • Measurements
    panel: 55.2 cm x 54.1 cm; image: 53.7 cm x 53.2 cm
  • Physical description
    From the left two holy women (Mary Salome and Mary Cleophas) and the Virgin dressed in blue drapery who is supported by St. John dressed in red drapery. On the right there is one female figure (Mary Magdalen) who is holding her long hair and two male figures (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, in the foreground) who are supporting the dead Christ. They are all shown in a barren landscape.
  • Related people
    Joseph Franz Anton Count Truchsess von Waldburg-Zeil-Wurzach (Previous owner); Liverpool Royal Institution (Previous owner); Master of The Virgo Inter Virgines (Artist/maker); William Roscoe (Previous owner); Thomas Winstanley (Previous owner)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 1014
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Liverpool Royal Institution in 1948
  • Location
    Walker Art Gallery, Room 01, 1.2
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Liverpool Royal Institution

    Owned from: 1819
    How acquired: Presented by Mason who had bought it from the Roscoe sale
    Owned until: 1948
    Disposal method: Presented to the Walker Art Gallery
  • William Roscoe

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1816-09-28
    Disposal method: Sold at auction at Roscoe's sale held by Winstanley'sin Liverpool lot 78
  • Thomas Winstanley

    Owned from: 1807-04-21
    How acquired: Purchased at auction from Hermon (auctioneer), London lot 166 for £7 7shillings
    Owned until: ?1816
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Joseph Franz Anton Count Truchsess von Waldburg-Zeil-Wurzach

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1806-04-24
    Disposal method: Sold at auction Skinner, Dyke and Co. 24-26 April 1806 lot 43 for £3.13shillings and 6 old pennies

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: A. Israelson (?)
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back
  • Inscription text: L. B.
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back
  • Inscription text: 28
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back
  • Inscription text: [illegible monogram]
    Inscription method: To be Reasearched
    Inscription note: Fragment of a red wax seal with an illegible monogram. According to Keith Burchett the Bowes Museum triptych by the Master also has a wax seal with heraldic motifs on it.
    Inscription location: Back
Object view = Fine Art
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