Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596-1675), attributed to
Christ tied to a pillar
Oil on panel
18,7 x 14,8 cm
Private Collection, London,
Private Collection, South France 2007.
This work has an artistic connection (likely a preliminary oil study) to the piece depicted in Charles Blanc, Histoire des peintres de toutes les écoles Flamande, part 10, 1864.
Abraham van Diepenbeeck was a prominent Flemish painter active in Antwerp. Born in 's-Hertogenbosch, he received his education under Peter Paul Rubens. His versatility is evident in his work as a history painter, glass painter, and designer for tapestries and prints. While strongly influenced by his mentor, Van Diepenbeeck typically employs more pronounced light-dark contrasts in his treatment of mythological and religious subjects. He was a prominent member of the Antwerp Sint-Lucas Guild and served as the court painter for Archbishop Leopold Willem of Austria.
The panel depicts Christ, solemn, wearing only a loincloth. His body leans forward, and his eyes are closed. The painting is based on a passage from the New Testament: 'Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged' (John 19:1, Matthew 27:24, Mark 15:15). The blood splatters on his pallid skin and the pool of blood on the ground reveal that he has just been scourged. Christ stands completely isolated. Van Diepenbeeck has omitted the scourgers. Only the suffering of Christ is central, making this work highly devotional and contemplative.
Particularly noteworthy is the halo, crafted with "shell gold." "Shell gold" refers to gold paint obtained through a meticulous process of mixing very fine gold particles with gum arabic, which is then applied with a brush. The name originates from the medieval practice of using shells to hold valuable pigments. The precious "shell gold" was rarely used and only sparingly for details and accents. Van Diepenbeeck acquired this technique in Rubens' studio.
For more information, see the article at the Blog & News page.
Abraham van Diepenbeeck - Christ tied to a pillar
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