The Death of the Virgin
by Hugo van der GOES

The generation that followed Van der Weyden and Dieric Bouts was dominated by Hugo van der Goes, who became a free master of the Ghent painters' corporation in 1467. His moving Death of the Virgin is one of the greatest masterpieces of the fifteenth century. The painting was probably made for the Abbey of the Dunes in Koksijde, which was moved to Bruges in the seventeenth century. It remained in Bruges, even during the French occupation. Following a short stay in the Town Hall, it was given to the Academy Museum in 1828. The plastic and psychological elaboration of the theme is very personal, as is the case with all Van der Goes' work.

While traveling abroad, provably to Cologne, Van der Goes was seized by acute depression and, in a fit of insanity, he had to be prevented by force from taking his own life. He must have died shortly after that. Many attempts have been made to link these biographical details to the Death of the Virgin. Every stylistic trait that distinguishes this work from the others, including its dramatic, visionary atmosphere, has been ascribed to the painter's state of mind.

Preview Picture Data Info
The Death of the Virgin
c. 1480
Oil on wood, 147,8 x 122,5 cm
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin
c. 1480
Oil on wood, 147,8 x 122,5 cm
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin (detail)
c. 1480
Oil on wood
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin (detail)
c. 1480
Oil on wood
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin (detail)
c. 1480
Oil on wood
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin (detail)
c. 1480
Oil on wood
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin (detail)
c. 1480
Oil on wood
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin (detail)
c. 1480
Oil on wood
Groeninge Museum, Bruges


The Death of the Virgin (detail)
c. 1480
Oil on wood
Groeninge Museum, Bruges



Summary of paintings by Hugo van der Goes
Calvary Triptych | Death of the Virgin | Monforte Altarpiece | Portinari Triptych | Various



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