Altarpiece with Scenes of the Passion
Artist/maker unknown, Flemish. Paintings attributed to a follower of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Netherlandish (active Antwerp), 1502 - 1550. Sculpture attributed to the workshop of Master of the Oplinter Altarpiece, Flemish.
This elaborate altarpiece depicts scenes from Jesus' life and from the Passion, the events of his final days on earth. The altarpiece is shown here with its hinged panels open, as they would have been on major religious holidays. On either side of the Crucifixion in the center are carvings of scenes from the Passion with insets of earlier events prefiguring Jesus' suffering. On the base, or predella, paintings emphasize the idea of communion (the ritual of sharing bread and wine in Jesus' memory): a scene from the Last Supper is flanked by two related Old Testament subjects. Priests would have stood directly beneath these scenes when celebrating Mass at the altar.
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