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After Hugo van der Goes, The Death of the Virgin

Key facts
Full title The Death of the Virgin
Artist After Hugo van der Goes
Artist dates active 1467; died 1482
Date made probably after 1500
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 38.7 × 35.6 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG658
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Death of the Virgin
After Hugo van der Goes

This small painting shows Christ coming down from heaven to receive the soul of his mother, who lies close to death. He floats above her accompanied by angels, two of whom hold a white cloth in which to carry the Virgin’s soul to heaven.

The grieving apostles are administering the last rites to the Virgin. Saint John places a long, lit candle into her hands. Attached to it is a small disc with a cross: the Host (consecrated bread) which was offered to the dying. A saint who is probably Peter, dressed in white as a priest, prepares to scatter holy water over her.

Technical analysis shows a different plan: a large curtained bed instead of the view of the town. This earlier version seems to be based on a design Hugo van der Goes made when planning his famous Death of the Virgin (Groeningemuseum, Bruges).

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