UNKNOWN MASTER, Hungarian
(active 1510s)

Flagellation

1514
Tempera on pine-wood, 109 x 102,5 cm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest

The panel once decorated the outside of the wing of an altar.

Stylisticallty it is a problematic work. The emphasis on the cruel details of The Flagellation is in keeping with the period indicated by the date, but the style is based on a mixture of elements taken from Dürer and the Danube School; the colours are as bright as those of Albrecht Altdorfer or Wolf Huber. These characteristics are enhanced by unrestrained animation. The figures seem to be unable to move in the low, squat space filled with an unnecessarily large number of columns, so that their gestures seem all the more violent. The columns suggest a grand portico, rather than a torture chamber; the head of a person lurking in the left upper corner could be that of the proconsul himself. At the beginning of the sixteenth century columns were a rarity in architecture north of the Alps; for this reason, they did not often figure in paintings. Thus their presence here adds an element of grandeur to the chamber, giving it a more contemporary Italianate appearance. At the same time, however, the queer, ring-shaped ornaments appearing at intervals on the stem of the columns, make them look awkward and primitive.




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