With New Splendour


The Crucified Thief by the Master of Flémalle in Context

The exhibition

The so-called “Crucified Thief” by the Master of Flémalle has been undergoing comprehensive conservation and restoration since October 2014. It is a key work in the history of European art, executed by one of the most enigmatic figures of Early Netherlandish painting. Painted on both sides, it is the only surviving section of a large-scale triptych of the Deposition that was among the most prominent and influential works of Netherlandish painting at the beginning of the fifteenth century. When the conservation and restoration measures reach completion, the precious work will literally shine in new splendour. In honour of the occasion, a three-month special presentation will be devoted to it at the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung.

The exhibition will not only shed light on the procedure and spectacular outcome of the technological examination and the restoration. It will also feature twelve selected comparanda in the mediums of panel painting, sculpture, drawing and book illumination, serving to contextualize the fragment in a wide variety of ways. Presumably executed for a Bruges church around 1430, the Deposition triptych again and again provided inspiration to subsequent generations of artists. As a result, various contemporary drawings, later painted copies and quotations of individual figures and figural groups have allowed us to reconstruct its original appearance for the most part. Our fragment will be shown alongside a painted copy of the triptych from the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and drawings from the Fogg Museum in Cambridge (MA) and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (UK). The presentation will also include works of Netherlandish and German sculpture of the period in question, which is splendidly represented at the Liebieghaus by the so-called “Rimini Altar” and Hans Multscher’s “Holy Trinity”. The exhibition is a cooperative project of the Städel Museum and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung.

A cooperation of the Städel Museum and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung

Supported by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain
The conservation of the “Crucified Thief” was supported by Bank of America Art Conservation Project