Christ; Christ as Salvator Mundi

Hans Memling (1430-1494) - or Follower


Location : New York (USA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art ( 32.100.54)

The Painting: The strict frontality of Christ asserts the aura of the renowned Vera Icon, or “true image”. This formal presentation, however, is mitigated by the close-up view, set before a familiar landscape, which affirms the physical presence of a living being. Christ blesses the devotee with his right hand and rests his left hand on a cross-topped globe, thus representing the Salvator Mundi or Savior of the World.

Von Arnim family, Schwedt an der Oder (until 1904; to Kaufmann); Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin (1904–d. 1908; his estate, 1908–17; his estate sale, Cassirer & Helbing, Berlin, December 4 ff., 1917, no. 69, for 72,000 marks); [Kleinberger, New York, 1921]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1921–d. 1931)

Credit Line:The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931

Max J. Friedländer. "De Verzameling von Kaufmann te Berlijn." Onze Kunst 10 (July–December 1906), pp. 30–31, ill., observes that, although the painting's execution is a bit coarse, it is unquestionably by Memling.

Karl Voll. Memling: Des Meisters Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1909, p. 178, ill. p. 124, dates it about 1490.

J. O. Kronig. "Deux tableaux de maîtres primitifs néerlandais dans les collections de S. M. le Roi du Portugal." Les arts no. 99 (March 1910), p. 28, notes that, compared to the Lisbon "Christ Blessing" [Palais de Necessidades, now Norton Simon Museum, Passadena], our tondo is only a sketch; comments that in both works Christ is depicted with unusual faun-like ears.

"Mr. Friedsam's Memling." American Art News 14, no. 25 (March 25, 1916), p. 1, observe that it is "presumably a pendant" to Memling's Madonna and Child tondo in the Friedsam collection [MMA 32.100.59].

Georges Huisman. Memlinc. Paris, 1923, pp. 123, 148, ascribes it to Memling's workshop.

Max J. Friedländer. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 6, Memling und Gerard David. Berlin, 1928, p. 123, no. 38, as by Memling.

Max J. Friedländer in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 135, as from Memling's middle period.

Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), p. 20, call it Memling.

Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, p. 70, ill., as Memling; note that the "Salvator Mundi" replaced the hieratic "Holy Face" toward the end of the 15th century.

Julius S. Held. "Book Reviews: Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta M. Salinger . . ., 1947." Art Bulletin 31 (June 1949), p. 140, observes that it derives from Rogier Van der Weyden's "Paris triptych" [Triptych of Jean Braque, about 1452–53, in the Louvre].

Julius S. Held. "A Tondo by Cornelis Engebrechtsz." Oud-Holland 67, no. 1 (1952), pp. 234, 236, points out that hanging small devotional tondos at the head end of beds seems to have been a standard practice during the 15th and 16th centuries; notes that such tondos are shown in paintings representing interiors and cites our "Annunciation" by Hans Memling [MMA 1975.1.113] and the "Anunciation" by Joos van Cleve [MMA 32.100.60] among other examples.

Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 67.

Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, p. 74.

Carla Gottlieb. "The Mystical Window in Paintings of the Salvator Mundi." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 56 (December 1960), p. 330 n. 12, comments on the absence here of a reflected "mystical window" on the orb, which is simply highlighted; notes that "the obscure relationship of T-band [there is none] to globe proves that this portion is not in its original state or not by Memling".

Giorgio T. Faggin. L'opera completa di Memling. Milan, 1969, p. 103, no. 50, ill., as an autograph Memling.

Max J. Friedländer et al. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 6, Hans Memlinc and Gerard David. New York, 1971, part 1, p. 51, no. 38, pl. 90.

Barbara G. Lane. Hans Memling: Werkverzeichnis. Frankfurt, 1980, p. 48, no. 63, ill., dates it to about 1480–90.

Dirk De Vos. Hans Memling: The Complete Works. Ghent, 1994, p. 142 n. 4, p. 232 n. 1, p. 344, no. A12, ill. (color), considers the tondo too dry in execution and lacking in atmosphere to have been painted by Memling and ascribes it to a follower; notes that it "could be a contemporary copy of a small, lost painting by Memling"; mentions two related compositions (Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).

Dirk De Vos. Hans Memling: Catalogue. Exh. cat., Groeninge Museum, Bruges. Ghent, 1994, p. 66, 106, as a work of a follower.

Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 253, ill.

Mary Sprinson de Jesús in From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 236, 238–39, no. 56, ill. (color), ascribes it to Memling's workshop in the last quarter of the 15th century; compares the facial type to that in a panel of Christ as Salvator Mundi, part of a fragmentary triptych in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg; notes that in the compositional prototype, Rogier's Braque triptych, Christ holds the orb, whereas in Memling's examples Christ rests his hand on it; states that the painting and frame are a single piece of wood.

Philippe Lorentz and Micheline Comblen-Sonkes. Musée du Louvre, Paris. III [Les primitifs flamandes, I: Corpus de la peinture des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux et de la principauté de Liège au quinzième siècle, vol. 19]. Brussels, 2001, p. 156, no. 13, lists it as one of numerous compositions related to the Braque triptych and ascribes it to the workshop of Memling.

Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Commentary: An Integrated Approach." Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads: A Critical Look at Current Methodologies. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth. New York, 2001, p. 110, calls it a workshop example in excellent condition.

Lloyd DeWitt. Hans Memling’s "Virgin Nursing the Christ Child" and the Early Netherlandish Tondo. Exh. brochure, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, [2009], unpaginated, fig. 7 (color).

Diane Wolfthal and Cathy Metzger. Los Angeles Museums. Brussels, 2014, pp. 125, 132, fig. 4 (color).

Toon meer objectgegevens


Oil on wood

Size in cm:

20,3 (diameter painting)

Image source:

Website ''

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