JOOS VAN DER BEKE VAN CLEVE
Triptych with the Lamentation of Christ
Mixed technique on oakwood
Inv. No. 803
In 1524, the merchant and city councillor Gobel Schmitgen, the emblem of whose house is emblazoned on the left wing, donated this triptych for the north side altar of his parish church of St. Maria Lyskirchen in Cologne. In commissioning Joos van Cleve to paint it, the donor – who is no doubt represented by the richly dressed man at the left edge of the central panel – secured the services of one of the leading Antwerp painters of his time. Unlike traditional depictions of the Lamentation, this one places Christ’s body prominently at the centre of the composition and offers it for worship to the contemporary viewer, together with the conspicuously displayed Instruments of the Passion.