Crist on the Day of Judgment with the Virgin and St John as Intercessors

Crist on the Day of Judgment with the Virgin and St John as Intercessors
(click image to zoom-in)
Painting, Tempera on panel, 46.5x70 cm
Origin: Germany, 15th century

During the medieval period, when justice was perceived as the will of God himself, paintings of this kind showing part or all of the Last Judgment, were placed in town halls to remind more earthly judges of the just and unbiassed assessment of the Lord of All. The inscription on the painting reads: 'The man who is elected to the Council should be careful not to lose his soul, let everyone be equal for him, both rich and poor, both friend and stranger, for then will he judge without sinning.'

The artist shows only the main figures from the upper part of a Last Judgment: before Christ, seated on a rainbow, are the kneeling Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. The sword, symbol of divine wrath, points out towards the sinners, while the lily, symbol of mercy, reaches out to the righteous. Angels hold the instruments of Christ's Passion. The artist seeks to create a sense of volume with the aid of modelling in light and shade, but the most important elements in the painting are line and silhouette. This late Gothic work is in a typically soft and sweet style.

Personage: Christ
Style: Gothic
Source of entry: from Elbing Town Hall, presented to Catherine II
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: German Art: 15th - 18th centuries

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