MASTER of the Virgo inter Virgines
(active 1470-1500 in Delft)


Oil on wood, 57 x 47 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This Master of the Virgo inter Virgines, whose names derives from a painting now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, had one of the three most active workshops in Holland at the end of the fifteenth century. The artist certainly possessed an exceptional expressive talent, which is plainly revealed by the intense dramatic force of the scene represented, by the serpentine and tormented line with which the figures are delineated, by the agitated poses and by the agonizing figure of the tortured Christ. Even the range of colours is emotionally charged, the reds, blacks and whites a deliberate clashing accompaniment to the awesome tragedy of Christ's death.

Figures like the swooning Virgin who has collapsed upon herself, and Mary Magdalen, have nothing rationally calculated about them; they serve rather to emphasize a dramatic intensity and almost savage, inhuman anguish, reflecting an anticonventional and certainly highly individual temperament.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 11 minutes):
Georges de la Hele: Missa "Nigra sum"