FRANCKEN, Ambrosius I
(b. ca. 1544, Herentals, d. 1618, Antwerpen)
Descent from the Cross1580s
Oil on panel, 122 x 95 cm
O.-L. Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp
Ambrosius Francken was a member of the second generation of the family of painters in Antwerp. He was a Mannerist, and like other painters in the Low Countries in the last third of the 16th century, he became eclectic, a trend which itinerant Netherlandish artists of international culture helped to establish. His art was somewhat artificial, and his agitated style never achieved true pathos.
This panel was painted 25 years before Rubens' Descent from the Cross, also in the Antwerp Cathedral. A simple comparison of the two works speaks about the artistic development that took place that short space of time, due not least to Rubens' own special genius.