Sunday, April 4, 2010

Van der Weyden's "Descent from the Cross"

One hundred years after its acquisition by Mary of Hungary, the extraordinary painting "Descent from the Cross", by the Flemish master Rogier van der Weyden, was relocated to Spain by King Philip II. The altarpiece is there still, in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Image: "Descent from the Cross", c. 1435, 
oil on wooden panel, 220cm x 262 cm. 
Collection of Museo Nacional Del Prado.

Entirely by luck, I happened upon Belgian video artist Walter Verdin's Sliding Time, an installation prepared for an exhibition of van der Weyden's work in 2009*. In Sliding Time, Verdin brings to life the 10 figures in "Descent from the Cross". Through a series of slow and repetitive movements, each of the figures is isolated and then brought back into the original painting. 

The installation may be viewed here. The presentation takes 7 minutes and then loops. Be sure to use the zoom feature or move the mouse over an isolated figure for close-ups. Note the sumptuousness of the detailing and the richness of the gold, lapis, and other colors used. The image itself is one of the most moving ever painted.

This online installation is not to be missed.

* "Rogier van der Weyden 1400 - 1464 — Master of Passions", Museum Leuven (City of Leuven, Belgium), February 9, 2009 - June 12, 2009. The altarpiece could not be included in the exhibition—the reason for Verdin's commission.

Information about "Descent from the Cross" is available here. The painting originally was commissioned by the Cross-bowmen's Brotherhood of Louvain for the chapel at the Church of Nuestra Senora de Extramuros. 

Images of other masterpieces of van der Weyden in the collection of the Prado may be seen here.


Louise Gallagher said...

That is quite stunning. Thank you!

happy Easter!

Bonnie Gray said...

My goodness -- art & beauty & truth all in ones post!

Happy Easter, Maureen!

Anonymous said...

the detail
of the painting
is exquisite
the blood
of feeling
yet showing
no scars
of the battle
no dirt
no hill
no sky
a lovely painting
to the eye

Walter Verdin said...

thank you!