Altar “Seven Sacraments”, Rogir van der Weiden – description

Altar “Seven Sacraments”, Rogir van der Weiden – description
Altar "Seven Sacraments", Rogir van der Weiden - description - 1

  • Posted by Rogir van der Weiden
  • Museum: Royal Museum of Fine Arts
  • Year: 1445 – 1450

Description of the picture :

Altar “Seven Sacraments” – Rogir van der Weiden. Wood, butter. 223 x 200 cm

   Artists often chose one of the church Sacraments for their paintings as a plot for their paintings, which accompany a person all his life from birth to death, giving them the grace of God. And only Rogir van der Weiden for the first time writes the altar, on which all the Holy Actions are brought together.

   It is believed that his customer was the bishop of the city of Tourne, Jean Chevro, whom the master portrays as a clergyman in the stage of anointing.

   Before us is a magnificent Gothic cathedral with high windows through which daylight pours. In the central part of the triptych, a simple wooden cross is ascended to the arches of the temple, the crucified Jesus Christ rises above all, because it was he who established the Sacraments.

   This is the most tragic scene of the altar. John in red robes gently picks up the besieging Virgin, who lost consciousness from grief. Maria Magdalina, kneeling next to the cross, nervously clenches her arms. Her sad face glows with faith and frantic hope. Deep sorrow on the face of Salome, which carefully holds the hand of Our Lady. Next to them on their knees, turning away to the side, the holy Mary of the world-bearing wipes the tears.

   And life goes on around. Behind them is the sacrament of communion, people offer prayers, a young family walking through the cathedral, looking around with curiosity.

   On the left and right wings, in order, there are images of other sacred actions, over each of which an angel is floating, dressed in clothes of the appropriate color.

   On the left, in the foreground, the very first thing in a person’s life is baptism, after it we see anointing, and even further – confession.

   The right sash begins with a ordination to the rank, depicted in the depths, a wedding is taking place in front of this scene, and in the foreground – a cathedral.

   The artist intentionally does not separate the sacraments from each other – because there are no secrets for God. The master very accurately conveys the wealth of emotions and genuine feelings on his faces, he managed to capture the movement of people, which gives reality and dynamism to his picture.

   Juicy colors are combined with the white-gray walls of the cathedral, so beloved by the artist – a variety of shades of fiery red, alogo, yellow, olive, deep bright blue. The snow-white clothes of priests and the headgear of the ladies attract attention.

   Triptych framed by gold frames on which the coats of arms of the city of Tourné and, presumably, Jean Chevron are located.

   This altar can be viewed endlessly, peering into the faces of people in the cathedral, admiring the many carefully written parts. A curious touch – on the stash there is an image of two dogs.

   The picture, filled with deep symbolic meaning, reminds us of the meaning of life and its transience.