Lucas van Leyden

Healing of Blind Man of Jericho

Healing of Blind Man of Jericho
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Lucas van Leyden
Painting, Oil on canvas, 115.7x217.3 cm
Origin: Netherlands, 1531

In taking as his subject one of the miracles performed by Christ, as related in the Gospel According to Luke , the artist treated the religious subject like an entertaining genre scene. In this, the altarpiece is very typical of the artist's work. The central characters are Christ and the blind man, who is led by a small boy, yet they are shown not prominent in the foreground, but a little deeper in the painting, surrounded by a colourful, very mixed crowd of people. Amongst those looking on as the miracle takes place are the apostles, as well as various citizens, soldiers, monks, women with children and even a cripple who points at Christ, confirming the fact of the cure of the blind. All are dressed in 16th-century attire and their faces are free of any of the idealisation typical of contemporary Italian works. There is no refined beauty, no sublime inspiration, for Lucas van Leyden was seeking to convey above all the crowd's emotional reaction.

On the lateral wings of the triptych are saints, as was traditional on church altars, and the secular figures of heralds , demonstrating the coats of arms of the painting's donors. It has been suggested that the triptych was intended for a Leyden hospital and was intended to be an example to the sick, promising spiritual healing and deliverance to those who truly believed in Christ.

Personage: Christ
Source of entry: Collection of baron L.A. Crozat de Tierra, Paris, 1772
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: Netherlandish Art: 15th - early 17th centuries

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