Artist: Cornelis Engebrechtsz (Netherlandish, ca. 1461–1527)
Date: ca. 1525–27
Medium: Oil on wood
Dimensions: 24 1/4 x 35 1/4 in. (61.5 x 89.5 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Coudert Brothers, 1888
Accession Number: 88.3.88
Engebrechtsz was the leading painter in Leiden in the early sixteenth century. In this strikingly symmetrical Crucifixion, piety and dramatic energy are combined, and emotional effect is pushed to an extreme. The figure of Christ is isolated against the darkened sky; his tormented, lifeless body is flanked on either side by the crucified thieves, whose forms are contorted in agony. While the mourning Virgin echoes the posture of her son, indicating her empathic suffering, Saint John gazes up in grief at Christ. The two unidentified donors, probably husband and wife, are physically close to but psychologically detached from the scene.