The Thief to the Left of Christ
Mixed technique on oakwood
Inv. No. 886
134.2 × 92.5 cm
Robert Campin’s magnificent painting, with its macabre, detailed depiction of the battered corpse of one of the thieves who was crucified with Jesus, is the only surviving remnant of one of the most important Netherlandish altarpieces of the fifteenth century. Executed around 1430, at roughly the same time as the Ghent Altarpiece by the brothers van Eyck, Campin’s triptych, which has come down to us in numerous copies, showed the Descent from the Cross on its central panel and the two crucified thieves on its wings. The monumental impact of this altarpiece is still experienced in great immediacy, even in the surviving fragment, which formed the upper half of the work’s right-hand wing.