The Crucifixion Triptych

Master of the Aachen Altarpiece, 1492 - 1495

WAG 1225, WAG 1226, L 928

About this object

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.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    The Crucifixion Altarpiece: The Crucifixion (Central Panel)
  • Artist(s)
    Master of the Aachen Altarpiece (German, born:15th Century, died:16th Century)
  • Date
    1492 - 1495
  • Materials
    Oil paint; Tempera; Gold; Panel; Oak wood
  • Measurements
  • Physical description
    Crucifixion Altarpiece: The front of the left hand wing: depicting Pilate washing his hands, whilst Christ stands before him led by a soldier. Pilate wears a red garment and black hat. The scene is crowded with people and there are steps leading to an interior in the upper left corner of the composition. The back of the left hand wing: shows a clergyman in an interior kneeling before Christ with a book and golden chalice on the white altar table in front of him. He is wearing a richly decorated vestment and is accompanied by two other male figures dressed in the same vestment. Another kneeling figure holds a tall candle upright which reaches up to a group of angels floating above. Just below the angels on the right there appears to be a deep scorch mark burnt into the panel. Central panel: showing the Crucifixion of Christ (in the centre) between the crucifixion of the Good and Bad thieves, one looking down towards the large crowd surrounding the crosses and the other writhing in agony. On either side of Christ's cross stands his mother (the Virgin Mary), on the left, and on the right a long-haired young man in red representing St John the Evangelist. Amid the backgroung crowds are several other scenes from Christ's journey to and after his crucifixion. In the foreground with his back to the viewer is an elaborately dressed soldier wearing striped leggings, and with one stockinged leg and the other bare showing bulging varicose veins. The front of the right hand wing: depicting the grieving over the dead body of Christ who lies on white drapery in the centre foreground supported by a figure in red drapery (St John the Evangelist) on the right. There are four female figures on the other side of Christ's body, including Mary Magdalen on the left wearing red drapery and the praying Virgin in the centre wearing blue drapery. The back of the right wing: showing in the foreground of a church interior two main kneeling figures, a male figure on the left (Hermann Rinck) and a female figure on the right (his wife Druitgen van Dalen) above their heads are their respective coats of arms. In the background to the right are 3 young men (three of their four sons) and in the foreground are two small dogs, one dark and one white.
  • Related people
    Master of the Aachen Altarpiece (Artist/maker)
  • Credit line
    Left and right panel: Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Liverpool Royal Institution in 1948. Central panel on loan from The National Gallery, London (No. 1049).
  • Location
    Walker Art Gallery, Room 01
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections
Object view = Fine Art
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