The Crucifixion Altarpiece: Lamentation over the Dead Christ (Front Right Wing)

WAG 1226


The Crucifixion Altarpiece is a triptych formed of three painted panels, the two side wings belonging to the Walker Art Gallery and the central painting to the National Gallery, London. The entire triptych is presently on display in the Walker. Both wings have painted reverses which would be folded closed in front of the central panel to show a family witnessing the 'Mass of St Gregory'. The wings were separated from the centre panel in the early 19th-century before or during their export to Britain. Until 1963 the paintings on the backs of the wings were hidden under black paint and only rediscovered after cleaning and conservation. The front of the right hand wing, shows the lamentation over Christ's body, mourned by among others his mother Mary (in a blue cloak), St John the Evangelist (on the right) and Mary Magdalen (swathed in red in the background to the left). In the background Christ rises triumphantly from his tomb and rises to heaven watched by his followers and disciples. This triptych was originally held in the parish church of St Columba in Cologne and was painted for the rich merchant and three-times mayor of Cologne, Hermann Rinck. The anonymous German artist is named after an altarpiece now held in Aachen Cathedral. This is one of the artworks presented by the Liverpool Royal Institution. Liverpool’s economic development grew directly from Britain’s involvement with transatlantic slavery: the kidnapping, enslavement and forced migration of people from West Africa to the Americas and many to the Caribbean. Many members of the Royal Institution made their fortunes directly through the trade or indirectly through the wider economy. This wealth was largely how they were able to bring rare art and treasures, such as this, to the city