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Rogier van der Weyden or studio of Rogier van der Weyden

The Crucifixion, ca. 1457-1464 of na 1464
San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid), El Escorial, [..]
Object information
Object category
painting
Support/medium
panel, oil paint
the painting was heavily damaged in a fire in the Escorial in 1671, which makes proper judgement of the paint layer almost impossible
Shape/dimensions
rectangle (portrait format) 323,5 x 192 cm
Current attribution
Rogier van der Weyden
the accounts of the Charterhouse of Scheut (near Brussels) for 1555 record the receipt of 100 pounds for 'a certain image of the crucified Christ sold from our Church and given to us by Master Rogier the painter' [Item summa receptorum de quadam imagine crucifixi vendita ex ecclesia nostra nobis donata a magistro Rogero pictore Ic Lb]; citation after Campbell 2015; De Vos 1999 attributes the painting to Rogier van der Weyden on the basis of the underdrawing since the painting was heavily damaged in a fire in the Escorial in 1671 (p. 291 [Technische gegevens]); the assumed severe fire damage is, however, denied by Metzger 2015
or studio of Rogier van der Weyden
Stephan Kemperdick (unpublished opinion, 2015), see also the remarks concerning the dendrochronological analysis of the panel
Date
Exact or approximate dating of the described art work; the search parameters adopted for this art work in this database, are found in brackets.
c. 1457-1464 or after 1464 (1450 - 1470)
Friedländer 1967-1976, vol. II, p. 65, no. 25: 'If th[e] provenance can be accepted, 1450 would be the earliest date for the picture, which is hard to analyze stylistically, on account of its poor state of preservation'; De Vos 1999: c. 1454-1455; Kemperdick 1999, ca. 1460; Campbell 2015: c. 1457-1464. Since 2015 there is a debate concerning the correct interpretation of the dendrochonological data. One of the thirteen horizontal boards of Baltic oak comprising the panel, contains five sapwood rings of which the last ring was formed in 1451 (last heartwood ring 1446). The number of sapwood rings found in oak trees from the Baltic region varies between 9 and 36, with a median of 15. The question thus raised, is how many sapwood rings and seasoning time (ranging from to 2 to 15 years for panels from the 15th and 16th centuries) should be taken into account. Campbell accepts for the Crucifixion panel a minimum of nine sapwood rings and a minimum seasoning time of two years, meaning that the felling date of the tree of the board in question would be 1455 and the earliest date of manufacturing 1457. According to this assumption, the Crucifixion could have been painted by Rogier van der Weyden somewhere between 1457 and his death in 1464. Stephan Kemperdick (unpublished opinion), however, considers it incorrect to assume that the one board which contains sapwood is also the youngest. There are three other boards of which the youngest heartwood rings date from 1444 and 1442 (two different trees), respectively. These boards comprise several hundred annual rings (more than three hundred in one case), meaning that they were 300-400 years old and had rings of less than a milimeter width. It is generally acknowledged that older trees with very narrow rings usually have more sapwood. In this case it is reasonable to expect at least 20 sapwood rings. If one would assume that the three boards of which the youngest heartwood rings date from 1442 and 1444 do not miss any sapwood (which seems unlikely), and one adds 20 sapwood rings plus only two years of seasoning (which is certainly not enough), the panel could only have been manufactured after 1464, the year of Rogier's death. Therefore, it seems more likely that the Crucifixion is a workshop product, that although pledged by Rogier (assuming that the 1555 record does not contain any false information), was only painted after his death in 1464.
Artistically related
Artistically related to other work
Such as a preparatory studie, comparable composition, other version, or copy of the artwork in this record.
  • used as model for
    after Rogier van der Weyden
    The Crucifixion, canvas, 320 x 195 cm, Toledo, Museo de Santa Cruz, inv. no. 33404; L. Campbell, J. Van der Stock (eds.), exh. cat. Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464. De passie van de meester, Zwolle/Leuven 2009, p. 466-468, cat. no. 62; see also De Vos 1999

Provenance
Exhibitions and literature
Visual documentation
Entered on: 2016-06-24; Last modification: 2016-08-06

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