COECKE VAN AELST, Pieter
(b. 1502, Aelst, d. 1550, Bruxelles)
Descent from the Crossc. 1535
Oil on panel, 119 x 170 cm
Amstelkring Museum, Amsterdam
Christ's dead body rests on the Virgin Mary's lap and is supported on the left by St John and on the right by Nicodemus.
On the left-side panel the man in the prosperous clothes represents Joseph of Arimathea. He is identified by the crown of thorns. The right-side panel shows Mary Magdalen, identified by the jar of ointment with which she anointed Jesus's feet.
Because the figures are depicted in the foreground, they involve the viewer in the events they portray and encourage a sense of empathy with Christ's passion and Mar's grief. This triptych was freely adapted from a work by Rogier van der Weyden by the workshop of Coecke and Aelst.