About This Artwork

Jacques de Baerze
Netherlandish, active before 1384–1399
Melchior Broederlam
Netherlandish, about 1355-about 1411

Corpus of Christ, from the Altarpiece of the Crucifixion, 1391–99

Walnut with gilding and traces of polychromy
27.7 x 18.3 x 5.2 cm (11 x 6 1/4 x 2 1/16 in.)

Gift of Honoré Palmer, 1944.1370

This representation of Christ crucified was removed from the center of a much larger work, the Altarpiece of the Crucifixion commissioned by Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy, for the Charterhouse of Champmol outside Dijon. Founded as the dynastic burial place, this monastery housed extraordinary artistic treasures made for the dukes, who commanded rich territories in Flanders and eastern France. The altarpiece, still preserved in Dijon, was first carved by the Flemish sculptor Jacques de Baerze of Dendermonde and then sent to the workshop of the noted painter Melchoir Broederlam in the nearby city of Ypres to be gilded and polychromed and to receive the innovative painted scenes of the life of the Virgin visible when the altarpiece was closed. Both sculpture and painting combine realism and elegance in a manner that foretells the innovations of Flemish art in the fifteenth century.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Musée de Beaux-Arts de Dijon, Palais des ducs de Bourgogne, Le grand siècle des Ducs de Bourgogne, 2 June – 18 July 1951, cat. 118.

Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Bourgondische Pracht van Philips de Stoute tot Philips de Schone, 28 July – 1 October 1951, cat. 176.

Brussels, Palais des Beaux–Arts, Le siècle de Bourgogne, 13 October – 16 December 1951, cat. 164.

Art Institute of Chicago, Medieval Decorative Arts from Chicago Collections, 2 October 1985 - 5 January 1986.

Moscow, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Decorative-Applied Art from Late Antiquity to the Late Gothic Style, 14 May - 14 July 1990, and the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad, 14 August - 14 October 1990, no. 57.

Art Institute of Chicago, Van Eyck’s ‘Annunciation’: The Meeting of Heaven and Earth, 10 July – 21 September 1997.

Musée des Beaux-Arts of Dijon and The Cleveland Museum of Art, Art from the Court of Burgundy: The Patronage of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, 1364–1419, 2004-2005, cat. 69.

Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, The Road to Van Eyck, 13 October 2012 - 10 February 2013, no. 23.

Publication History

Henri Chabeuf, "Compte rendu des travaux de la Commission Départementale des Antiquités de la Côte-d’Or du 15 novembre 1907 au 1er julliet 1908," Mémoires de la Commission Départementale des Antiquités de la Côte-d’Or 15 (1906-10), pp. 122–24, ill. opp. p. 124.

Paul Vitry, “Le Christ de Jacques de Baerze,” Annales du XXe Congrès archéologique et historique de Belge 1 (1907), p. 1 ff.

Paul Vitry, “Travaux des Sociétés savantes,” Revue de l’art chrétien 4, 3 (1908), p. 199.

Domien Roggen, “De Twee Retabels van de Baerze te Dijon,” Gentsche Bijdragen tot de Kunstgeschiedenis 1 (1934), pp. 98 n. 6, 99–100.

“Gothic Sculpture for Chicago,” Antiques 50, 1 (1946), p. 52 (ill.).

Oswald Goetz, “Der Gekreuzigte des Jacques de Baerze,” Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von C. G. Heise zum 28 Juni 1950 (Berlin, 1950), p. 158 ff.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, Catalogues des Sculptures (Dijon, 1960), p. 10, no. 4.

Theodore Müller, Sculpture in the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Spain, 1400–1500, trans. by Elaine and William Robson Scott (Baltimore, 1966), p. 13.

Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, Its Origins and Character, reprint (London, 1966), pp. 79, 391 n. 3.

Colin Eisler, “The Golden Christ of Cortona and the Man of Sorrows in Italy, Part One,” Art Bulletin 51, 2 (1969), p. 112, fig. 5.

Wiltraud Mersmann, “Jacques de Baerze und Claus Sluter,” Aachner Kunstblätter 39 (1969), pp. 153–55, figs. 7, 8.

Kathleen Morand, Claus Sluter: Artist at the Court of Burgundy (London, 1991), pp. 60, 175 n. 36, 325–26.

Dorothy Gillerman, ed., Gothic Sculpture in America, Publications of the International Center of Medieval Art 4, 2 (Turnhout, 2001), pp. 22–24, no. 17.

Renate Prochno, Die Kartause von Champmol, Grablege der burgundischen Herzöge 1364-1477 (Berlin, 2002), p. 133.

Christina M. Nielsen, ed. Devotion and Splendor: Medieva Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 30, 2 (2004), pp. 9, 59-60.

Sherry C. M. Lindquist, Agency, Visuality and Society at the Chartreuse de Champmol (Aldershot, UK, 2008), esp. pp. 148-153 and plate 7.

Susie Nash, “Création et signification: Les retables de Jacques de Baerze et Melchoir Broederlam, Un nouvel examen des sources” in Les Retables de la Chartreuse de Champmol, ed. Sophie Jugie and Catherine Tran-Bourdonneau (Dijon and Ghent, 2014), pp. 36-37, fig. 9.

Ownership History

Commissioned by Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, for the Chartreuse de Champmol, Dijon, France, 1390, and installed there on the high altar of the Saint-Jean Chapel by Melchior Broederlam, 1399 [see Müller 1966]; removed to the abbey of Saint-Bénigne, Dijon, 1792 [see Musée de Beaux-Arts de Dijon 1960; Goetz 1950, p. 159; and Cleveland 2004 exh. cat.]; transferred to the Musée de Beaux-Arts de Dijon, 1818/19 [see Goetz 1950, p. 159; Chabeuf 1910, p. 123; Musée de Beaux-Arts de Dijon 1960, which gives the date as 1818; and Cleveland 2004 exh. cat., which gives the date as 1819]. Paul Buffet, Dijon, after 1841 [see Goetz 1950, pp. 159-60; Vitry 1907, pp. 4–5; and Gillerman 2001, p. 22]; given to François Dameron (d. 1900), Dijon, and held in his possession until 1900 [see Goetz 1950, p. 160; Vitry 1907, p. 5; and Chabeuf 1910, p. 122]; by descent to his widow (d. 1906), Dijon [see sources cited above]; sold to a second-hand dealer (“brocanteur”), Dijon, 1906 [see Goetz 1950, p. 160]. Marcel Bing, Paris, by 1907 [see Vitry 1907 and Gillerman 2001, p. 22]; sold to Bertha Honoré Palmer (d. 1918), Chicago, 1910 [see letter from Marcel Bing to Bertha Honoré Palmer, 13 May 1910, in curatorial file]; by descent to her son, Honoré Palmer, Chicago; given to the Art Institute, 1944.

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