Christ Blessing

Hans Memling (German (worked in Flanders), about 1430–1440 to 1494)


35.1 x 25.1 cm (13 13/16 x 9 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on panel

On View

William A. Coolidge Gallery (Gallery 243A)





Memling was one of the major figures of early Netherlandish painting. The portrait-like conception of this painting was inspired by a medieval document that gave a physical description of Christ. Both the sensitive modeling of the face and the gesture of the left hand casually resting on the bottom of the frame create an illusion of space and depth. The painting is still in its original frame, an exceptionally rare survival. The date of the painting (1481) is inscribed at the top center of the frame.


Until about 1910/1915, Andrés Avelino Arteaga Silva (b. 1833 - d. 1910) and Maria de Belén Echagüe Mendez de Vigo (b. 1847 - d. 1907), Marqueses de Argüeso, Madrid; about 1910/1915, by descent to their daughter, Maria de las Mercedes de Arteaga y Echagüe, Marquesa de Argüeso, Madrid; about 1954, sold by the Marquesa de Argüeso to Frederick Mont, Inc., Baron Joseph van der Elst (b. 1896 - d. 1971), and Gaby Seefried von Bayern; June 16, 1954, sold by Frederick Mont to M. Knoedler and Co., New York (stock no. A5724) [see note]; January 3, 1955, sold by Knoedler to William A. Coolidge (b. 1901 - d. 1992), Topsfield and Cambridge, MA; 1993, bequest of William A. Coolidge to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 27, 1993)

NOTE: Getty Provenance Index, M. Knoedler and Co. records, painting stock book 10, p. 130, no. 5724.

Credit Line

Bequest of William A. Coolidge