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Christ Blessing
Andrea Previtali

Christ raises his hand in blessing as Salvator Mundi, or ‘Saviour of the World’. Such pictures were particularly popular in north-east Italy in the second half of the fifteenth and the early sixteenth century and were usually made for the home. The popularity of this type of painting in Venice may have been due to the import of large numbers of similar paintings from the Netherlands.

Here Christ’s image is presented as though it were a portrait. His frontal pose and direct gaze are intended to appeal directly to the worshipper on a personal level.

This picture was probably painted in Bergamo shortly after Previtali’s return from Venice in 1511 or 1512. There is another slightly later version of Christ as Salvator Mundi by Previtali in the National Gallery’s collection, which is inscribed 1519.

Key facts
Artist Andrea Previtali
Artist dates about 1480 - 1528
Full title Christ Blessing
Date made about 1512-15
Medium and support Oil on poplar
Dimensions 47.7 x 38.1 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3087
Location in Gallery Not on display
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