Cornelis Engebrechtsz: The Crucifixion with Donors and Saints Peter and Margaret (1525-1527)


(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)

A painting by the Dutch artist Cornelis Engebrechtsz. (1462-1527). Friday of the Holy Week, known as 'Good Friday' (why the day is called 'good Friday is unknown, it is suggested that "good" simply means pious or holy). After his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ was first taken to the Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme court) where he was interrogated. The Sanhedrin condemns Christ for blasphemy and sentences him to death. The following morning Christ is taken to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king and is sentenced to die at the cross. Carrying his cross to 'Golgotha', the place of the execution, Christ is crucified along with two criminals and dies after about 6 hours. According to the four Canonical Gospels Christ spoke seven times at the cross':

1. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (= 
Forgiveness, Luke 23:34)
2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (= 
Salvation, Luke 23:43)
3. Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother (=
Relationship, John 19:26–27)
4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (=
Abandonment, Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
5. I thirst (=
Distress, John 19:28)
6. It is finished. (=
Triumph, John 19:30)
7. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (=
Reunion, Luke 23:46)

When Christ died there was an earthquake, tombs broke open, and the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. Cornelis Engebrechtsz shows the traditional crucifixion with Christ in the center. On the left is the male donor together with saint Peter and Mary. On the right is the female donor, the virgin martyr Margaret of Antioch and John the Apostle. Painting from 1525-1527

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