Man of Sorrows with Madonna and Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Master of the Holy Veronica
24 cm x 41 cm x 2 cm
Inventory number: 
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
15th century Christs Saints
Religious scenes

On both sides of Christ stand Mary, with the child Jesus, and Saint Catherine, indicated by her instruments of martyrdom, the wheel and the sword, with which the (pagan) Emperor Maxentius had her tortured and killed. By the intervention of an angel, the wheel got stuck; then the emperor had the saint beheaded with a sword. On the vertical axis of this small panel, probably previously meant to be the middle piece of a triptych for private devotion, Christ is depicted as the Man of Sorrows, with the crown of thorns on his head, his hands extended to show his wounds. The showing of the wounds (ostentatio vulnerum) serves to remind the viewer that he and the entirety of humanity is saved by the bloody sacrifice of Christ.
The attribution of the panel at hand to the Master of the Holy Veronica has never been contested, however, the dating of the painting run from ca. 1400 to ca. 1420.