WEYDEN, Rogier van der
(b. 1400, Tournai, d. 1464, Bruxelles)

St John Altarpiece (detail)

Oil on oak panel
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The body of the executed man is part of the foreground group, and the executioner can set his sword against John's right shoulder, shown in a flat plane. At the same time, however, two mourners who belong to the background are placed directly above the cellar stairs where the dead man is lying, and a figure diminished to about one-third of the size of the foreground figures appears to be standing only a little farther back from them.