About this artwork
Corpus of Christ was originally the focal point of a large triptych combining painting and sculpture that was commissioned in 1390 by Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, for the newly founded Charterhouse of Champol outside Dijon. Philip intended this monastery as a dynastic burial place, and he and his successors endowed it with artistic treasures. The triptych was a collaboration between two important artists from the Flemish territories controlled by Philip the Bold: the sculptor Jacques de Baerze and the painter Melchior Broederlam. When open, the altarpiece showed carved reliefs of the Crucifixion, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Entombment together with standing figures of saints. The gilded center could be covered by movable wings whose backs, painted with scenes from the Infancy of Christ by Broederlam, were visible when the altarpiece was closed. The triptych still survives in Dijon (Musée des Beaux-Arts), but the central figure of the crucified Christ was removed during the French Revolution. Even separated from its context within the altarpiece, however, the crucified Christ remains a powerfully expressive work. Christ’s tensed hands and feet and earthy features are realistically observed, while the curving contour of his torso and the folds of his loincloth reflect a more courtly ideal.
- Jacques de Baerze
- Corpus of Christ, from the Altarpiece of the Crucifixion
- Walnut with gilding and traces of polychromy
- 27.7 × 18.3 × 5.2 cm (11 × 6 1/4 × 2 1/16 in.)
- Gift of Honoré Palmer