Master of the View of St. Gudule
Belgian, active 15th century
The Flagellation of Christ, c. 1480
oil, tempera on panel
71.3 x 39.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Lord and Lady Gort
This brilliantly coloured late fifteenth-century panel painting, identified with South German and Northern Netherlandish traditions, depicts the Flagellation of Christ, also referred to as Christ at the Column. The WAG panel was part of a triptych or multi-panelled altarpiece featuring a series of scenes from the Passion of Christ. The central panel would have depicted the Crucifixion realized in a relief sculpture. Divided into distinct architectural spaces, the WAG painting allows the viewer to witness the events leading up to and following the Flagellation (visible in the left and right background) while keeping the focus on the motley group of Christ’s tormentors. They appear poised to strike at their prisoner, who directs his gaze to the viewer, challenging one to ponder the grave injustice of the event. The figure of St. Augustine, a celebrated Latin theologian, is depicted in robes and mitre on the reverse side of the panel.