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Christ before Pilate
Master of Cappenberg (Jan Baegert?)

Both this work and 'The Coronation of the Virgin' belong to a group of eight panels forming a series about Christ's Passion and after. The rest are in the Landesmuseum, Münster. They came from the Klosterkirche in Liesborn or Marienfeld and appear to have formed the shutters of the Liesborn altarpiece, parts of which are also in the Collection.

At Pilate's shoulder is his wife Claudia Procula, who dreamed Christ was innocent and should not be put to death. The dog and Christ's hands are taken from an engraving by Schongauer.

Key facts
Artist Master of Cappenberg (Jan Baegert?)
Artist dates active about 1500 - about 1525
Full title Christ before Pilate
Group The Liesborn Altarpiece
Date made about 1520
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 99.1 x 69.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1854
Inventory number NG2154
Location in Gallery Room 62
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The Liesborn Altarpiece

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These images once formed part of a large altarpiece made for the high altar of the monastery church of the Benedictine Abbey at Liesborn, in Westphalia in north-west Germany. The main panel consisted of a central scene of the Crucifixion, flanked on either side by two smaller individual scenes from Christ’s infancy.

In 1517 two shutters painted by the Master of Cappenberg were added to either side of the Master of Liesborn’s original panel. These showed the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, his resurrection and events that occurred afterwards, such as the Pentecost.

The altarpiece was removed in the eighteenth century and later cut up so that only fragments survive. In the National Gallery’s collection there are three fragments of the central Crucifixion scene, a fragment of the flanking scene of the Adoration of the Kings and two complete flanking images (The Annunciation and The Presentation in the Temple) from the main panel, as well as two scenes from the inner faces of the shutters.

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