Altarpiece with Scenes of the Passion

Artist/maker unknown, Flemishc. 1535

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, United States

This elaborate altarpiece depicts scenes from Jesus' life and from the Passion, the events of his final days on earth. The altarpiece is shown here with its hinged panels open, as they would have been on major religious holidays. On either side of the Crucifixion in the center are carvings of scenes from the Passion with insets of earlier events prefiguring Jesus' suffering. On the base, or predella, paintings emphasize the idea of communion (the ritual of sharing bread and wine in Jesus' memory): a scene from the Last Supper is flanked by two related Old Testament subjects. Priests would have stood directly beneath these scenes when celebrating Mass at the altar.


  • Title: Altarpiece with Scenes of the Passion
  • Creator Nationality: Flemish
  • Creator Gender: Unknown
  • Date: c. 1535
  • Location: Antwerp, Southern Netherlands (modern Belgium)
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 9 feet 8 inches (294.6 cm) Width (Wings open): 14 feet (426.7 cm) Width (Wings closed): 7 feet 6 inches (228.6 cm)
  • Provenance: Purchased with Museum funds from the George Grey Barnard Collection, 1945
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: © 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
  • External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Medium: Gilded and painted wood sculptures; tempera-painted panels
  • Workshop: Sculpture attributed to the workshop of Master of the Oplinter Altarpiece, Flemish
  • Follower: Paintings attributed to a follower of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Netherlandish (active Antwerp), 1502 - 1550
  • Artist/Maker: Artist/maker unknown, Flemish

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