About this artwork

The subject of this devotional painting, which shows the bound and seated figure of Christ immediately before the Crucifixion, is quite unusual. The grief-stricken Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and St John the Evangelist are depicted as they would later appear at the foot of the cross. The cross is made ready behind Christ on the right. The painting was one of four panels depicting episodes leading to Christ’s Crucifixion owned by Henry III, Count of Nassau and his wife, Mencia de Mendoza. They were destined for Mencia’s castle in Jadraque, Spain.

Bernard van Orley

Bernard van Orley

Van Orley’s flourishing workshop in Brussels produced paintings and designs for tapestries and stained glass. His paintings combine inspiration from Rogier van der Weyden’s emotionally expressive work with the ideal proportions of Italian Renaissance figures, especially those of Raphael. Van Orley was appointed court painter to Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, in 1518. This helped secure his international reputation and brought him direct commissions from patrons in Spain associated with the ruling Spanish Hapsburgs in the Netherlands.