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Wolf Huber, Christ taking leave of his Mother

Key facts
Full title Christ taking leave of his Mother
Artist Wolf Huber
Artist dates 1480/5 - 1553
Date made about 1520
Medium and support Oil on fir
Dimensions 95.5 × 68.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1995
Inventory number NG6550
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Christ taking leave of his Mother
Wolf Huber

The subject of Christ bidding farewell to his mother, the Virgin Mary, as he heads to Jerusalem to face his arrest, trial and death was very popular in southern Germany. This is a fragment of a larger painting, which has been cut at the right edge – only Christ’s hands and part of his long crimson robe remain. The main focus of the image is the swooning Virgin Mary, who has collapsed into the arms of her companions.

Huber was skilled at expressing emotion through gesture and this is probably his most expressive and dramatic image. The composition, with the holy women to the left and Christ standing to the right, is similar to a version of the scene by Albrecht Altdorfer, which is also in the National Gallery’s collection. Huber may have been inspired by Altdorfer’s painting, which was made slightly earlier.

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