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Christ the Saviour
Massys, Quinten
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Massys, Quinten

Leuven (France), 1465 - Antwerp (Belgium), 1530

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Christ the Saviour

1529. Oil on oak panel.
Room 057A

Quentin Massys was one of the leading Flemish painters of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century and developed his professional career in Antwerp. The origin of this painting is unknown. It has belonged to the Royal Collection since the time of Philip II in the sixteenth century. The position of the figures, looking at each other, is common for diptych paintings. However, we do not know if these were originally painted as pendants to each other In 1597 this panel and Virgin Mary (P01562) were described in the Escorial as two “doors” of the same object. They may have been acquired as separate paintings and then hinged together as a diptych in the Royal Collection.

Both the Virgin and the Savior have a similar reverse side, which mimics marble. The reverse of Christ the Savior includes the inscription: AN OPUS Quintini metsys. M D XXIX. Dendrochronology indicates that 1509 is the earliest possible date for this painting, although it is most likely dated after 1515. This is consistent with the date of 1529 that appears on the back of the panel.

Information updated by the Flemish and Northern European Paintigns department, Museo del Prado.


Technical data

Inventory number
Massys, Quinten
Christ the Saviour
Oak panel
Height: 44 cm; Width: 35 cm
Royal Collection (Given by Felipe II to the Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial-Madrid, en 1597; Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo, Camarín, Descripción del Padre Jimenez, 1764; Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo, Camarín, Descripción de D. Bermejo, 1820, s.n.; Museo Real de Pinturas, Madrid, 1837)

Bibliography +

Sánchez Cantón, F.J., Notas sobre Quentin Massys en la península, Archivo español de arte, 17, 1944, pp. 308/ lám.11,12.

Broadly, H.T., The Mature Style of Quentin Massys (Tesis doctoral), New York University, New York, 1961.

Friedläender, Max J., Quentin Massys, Praeger Publishers, Westport, 1971.

Silver, Larry, The Paintings of Quinten Massys: with catalogue raisonné, Phaidon, Oxford, 1984, pp. 81,82/ lám.72.

Brown, Jonathan, Las Colecciones del Rey. Pintura y Escultura, IV Centenario Monasterio Escorial, 4, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1986, pp. 124.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Felipe II: mecenas de las artes, Nerea, Madrid, 1992, pp. 414.

Checa Cremades, F, Un príncipe del Renacimiento: Felipe II, un monarca y su ép..., Sociedad Estatal para la Commemoración de los cent..., Madrid, 1998, pp. 354.

Hand, John Oliver; Metzger, Catherine A. y Spronk, Ron, Prayers and portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish diptych, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2006, pp. 104-109.

Van Hout, Nico, Les primitifs flamands: les plus beaux diptyques, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerp, Amberes, 2007, pp. 34, nº 5.

García-Frías Checa, Carmen, 'De la grandeza y variedad de la pintura que hay en esta casa' La colección pictórica de Felipe II en El Monasterio de El Escorial, De El Bosco a Tiziano: arte y maravilla en El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2013, pp. 35-51 [42].

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Cuadros de Quinten Massys y Jan Massys en el Museo del Prado. Actualización de las atribuciones, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXII, 2014, pp. 96-109.

Míngez,V. Rodríguez, I, Las enseñanzas de Andrea Alciato en la corte de Venecia. Una tabla de la colección Barbosa-Stern atribuida a Jan Massys, Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, 106 Primavera, 2015, pp. 53-74 [67 f.8].

Pérez Preciado, J.J, '«Antes morir que discutir». Sobre las atribuciones históricas de lapintura neerlandesa antigua en el Museo del Prado (1912-33)', Boletín del Museo del Prado., XXXVII 55-57, 2019-2021, pp. 190-211 [208].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1444.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1561.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1561.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 426.
Metsys / 426. El Salvador (busto) / Tiene la mano derecha en actitud de bendecir (E.) (tabla) / Alto 1 pie, 7 pulg; ancho 1 pie, 3 pulg, 2 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 426.

Inscriptions +

Signed and dated. Back

Exhibitions +

Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Dyptych
03.03.2007 - 27.05.2007

Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Dyptych
Washington D.C.
12.11.2006 - 04.02.2007

Location +

Room 057A (On Display)

Update date: 07-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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