COECKE VAN AELST, Pieter
(b. 1502, Aelst, d. 1556, Bruxelles)
Altarpiece of the Passion1532-35
Panel, 225 x 107 cm (wings)
Museum of Art, Philadelphia
This altarpiece is an intact example of Antwerp retable collaboration of painters and sculptors. Installed in a shrine of the distinctive, Antwerp bell-shaped format, the wings are painted, attributed to the workshop of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, but the centre is carved. When closed, the altarpiece shows scenes from the adulthood and mission of Christ, ranging from the Baptism to the Transfiguration with scenes of miraculous healing. Inside the painted wings flank the carved scenes in a continuous Passion narrative, extending from the Arrest to the Resurrection. In the centre are densely figures carvings of the Carrying the Cross, a raised Crucifixion, and a Deposition. The altarpiece also contains smaller Old Testament scenes, on carved corbels as well as painted predellas.