MEMLING, Hans
(b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)

Deposition (left wing of a diptych)

1490s
Oil on oak panel, 53,8 x 39 cm
Groeninge Museum, Bruges

The painting is a copy after Hans Memling.

The composition shows a close-up of the Deposition. The body of Christ depicted to the knees, which is being taken down from the Cross, is supported by three men. The man on the far left is probably Nicodemus and the bald-headed man on the right Joseph of Arimathea. The St Andrew on the reverse came to light in 1959, which in itself indicates that the work must have been conceived as a rotating panel, probably the left wing of a Lamentation diptych. The right wing will have depicted the group with St John and the weeping women, as in Memling's diptych with the Deposition and the Lamentation in the Capilla Real, Granada. The painting in Bruges is the only copy with a picture on the reverse. The lifelike St Andrew is seen in the arched opening of a window niche. He is shown half-length, like the figures on the front. Two small shields in the spandrels bear the coat-of-arms of the della Costa family. The donor was thus probably the well-known Genoese Andrea della Costa (d. 1542), who was collector-general to Maximilian of Austria and orator of the deanery in Bruges. He was married to Agnes Adornes, whose coat-of-arms and guardian saint were probably included on the right wing.




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