The Crucifixion

about 1525
Joos van Cleve (Flemish, active in 1511–died in 1540 or 1541)


80.4 x 63.2 cm (31 5/8 x 24 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on panel

On View

William A. Coolidge Gallery (Gallery 243A)





One of the leading artists in sixteenth-century Antwerp, Joos combined such stylized and decorative elements as the arabesque flutter of Christ’s loincloth with naturalistic details, including the greenish pallor of Christ’s flesh. The weighty fall of the Virgin’s cloak emphasizes her restrained grief, while Saint John’s drapery reflects his agitation. Rather than rendering such details as the tiny party departing from the scene less distinctly to show that they are far away, Joos used color to demarcate distance-brown for the foreground, green for the middle ground, and blue for the background.


Gottfried Christoph Beireis (b. 1730 - d. 1809), Helmstedt, Germany. 1881, private collection, Düsseldorf; 1881, sold from this private collection, through Oscar Eisenmann, Cassel, to Eduard Friedrich Weber (b. 1830 - d. 1907) for the Galerie Weber, Hamburg; Feburary 20-22, 1912, Galerie Weber sale, Lepke, Berlin, lot 84, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 7, 1912)

Credit Line

The Picture Fund