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The Seven Sacraments

Rogier van der Weyden
1440 - 1445
223 cm x 200 cm
Inventory number: 
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
Category A: Flemish primitives
15th century Crucifixions
Religious scenes

This work depicts the seven sacraments, ordered around a Crucifixion, which is situated here in the middle hall of a Gothic church. Above each sacrament an angel hovers with a banderole in its hands. In the background of the middle panel, a priest holds a host during the Consecration, by which the sacrifice of Christ is recalled. On the left panel, Baptism, Confirmation and Confession are depicted. The right panel shows the Holy Orders, Marriage and Extreme Unction.
The people in the middle panel are larger than those in the side panels: they are more important and are from a different order. Their colourful garments direct attention to the foot of the cross. In contrast, two beggars can be distinguished amongst the pillars.
In the upper corner of the golden false frame, there are coats of arms: to the right, that of Doornik and to the left that of the Doornik bishop, Jean Chevrot. Presumably he is portrayed as the bishop who performs Confirmation. More than likely, he was also the patron of the piece. However, it is not clear for which location the painting was intended.