Christ on the Cold Stone with Two Angels
Hendrick Goltzius, Dutch, Christ on the Cold Stone with Two Angels, 1602, Oil on copper; 51 x 34.5 cm (20 1/16 x 13 9/16 inches), Museum Gift Fund, Museum Works of Art Fund and Corporate Membership Fund 61.006
Best known for his masterful engravings and woodcuts, Hendrick Goltzius turned his attention to painting, a more prestigious medium, when he was about forty years old. Among his earliest works in oil, Christ on the Cold Stone demonstrates his meticulous draftsmanship and dramatic use of light and dark contrast to define form. Intended as a private devotional image, the painting is rendered in jewel-like colors on copper, an engraver’s support whose smooth surface and limited scale the artist intimately understood. Christ, crowned with thorns and holding a broken reed, slumps upon a stone bench, a symbolic altar whereon he awaits his crucifixion. Distinguished by attending angels with lighted candles, the imagery is unusual among narratives of Christ’s Passion.