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Last Judgement

Jan Provoost
169 cm x 145 cm
Inventory number: 
Groeninge Museum Bruges
Category A: Flemish primitives
16th century Bruges painting Last judgements
Religious scenes

This judgment panel was made for the justice hall of the Bruges city hall. It was meant to remind the magistrate of his duty towards justice.
A golden ray connects Christ’s right eye with the chosen ones, who under a flourish of trumpets enter paradise. At the same time in his left hand he carries the traditional sword of just judgment. In addition to Mary and John the Baptist, who are seated on each side of Christ as usual spokesmen, one can recognise various saints amongst the blessed. The resurrected chosen ones are conducted by an angel clothed in white in long rows to the gates of paradise, while the blessed arrive by boat in large numbers. Although Provoost remains relatively true to the text of Revelations, he permits a certain number of freedoms. Thus, he has depicted various gates of Heaven and Hell has more than one entrance as well.
The flight of the wretched is symbolised by a wagon with fallen souls, surrounded by monstrous figures that are clearly inspired by Jheronimus Bosch. In 1550, Pieter Pourbus, on assignment by the city management, painted the Hell tableau over. Only in 1956, four hundred years later, was this over-painting removed.