International studio — 81.1925

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"the crucifixion triptych by erasmus

ing, in which he succeeded and made the same body, in the centre panel, is the only unconvincing

progress as in his other studies." bit of draftsmanship in an otherwise beautifully

So much for contemporary testimony to the executed composition. The triptych is known to

fact that Desiderius actually did paint altar pieces have been in the collection of the King of Portugal,

and other pictures of a religious character. The and there is a full and minutely accurate account

triptych was a favorite form of semi-architectural of it in the record of the sale, at Versailles in 1850,

ornament, with a special appeal to an orderly and of the Comte d'Espinoy collection. The three

.somewhat pedantic mind. The work now in wooden panels, which were brought to the United

Edward A. Faust's collection offers a wealth of States in 1917, are in an exceptional state of

internal evidence, all of which has been set forth preservation, the colors vivid and warm,
in a brochure by Maurice W. Brockwell, to be In general, this work by Erasmus is true to

found in the leading art libraries of America. The the academic manner of the latter fifteenth cen-

most conspicuous bit of evidence is the signature, tury, in the Netherlands and western Germany,

in large letters, around the edge of the shield in where figure and still-life painting had attained

the hand of the centurion, "ERASMUS P. 1501." the highest degree of excellence. Yet there is, in

That was a year of great poverty and misfortune the decorative feeling of the centre panel, another

in the life of the scholar, who was not unwilling to influence that is undoubtedly Italian. And so this

belittle himself by painting a picture that could triptych of the Crucifixion is the culminating note

be sold in order that lie might go on with his in a modern American home, whose varied and

literary pursuits. beautiful art collection is the ultimate crystaliza-

The three panels show, in sequence, Jesus tion of an ideal engendered by the memory of a

Bearing the Cross, the Crucifixion between Two medieval villa in old Florence. In this palace of

Thieves, and the Preparation of the Dead Christ the New World is recreated the splendor and

for Entombment. There are thirty figures, large beauty which distinguished the great Italian

and small, in addition to the fully draped figures houses of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,

of Saints Piatus and Vincentius, on the outside of American homes such as this give meaning to the

the two wings. The foreshortening of the horse's advice to "see America first."


four forty-five
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