Hugo van der Goes: Death of the Virgin (c1475)

Hugo van der Goes, Death of the Virgin, (circa 1475), Image Source: Musea Brugge

“On the bed lies the pale-white Virgin, clad in a blue cloak. Her hands are folded in her lap. A group of apostles gather in a circular arrangement around the deathbed. This group of saints shows great soulfulness, despair and human fear. At the top, Christ appears in a halo among hovering angels to take Mary’s soul into heaven. Several apostles can be identified. As a priest, Peter takes the candle of the dying from Thomas to place it between the folded hands of Mary. John is bent over the deathbed on the right and next to him is James Minor who, according to the Legenda Aurea, resembled Christ. Van der Goes found the inspiration for the scene in the Apocryphal Gospels and the Legenda Aurea. It tells how all the apostles were miraculously brought together around her deathbed at Mary’s death.”

Musea Brugge

Hat Tip

Many thanks to Catchlight for introducing me to this painting in the post Face to Face With Death, describing the exhibition at Musea Brugge in which this painting is the focus.

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Hugo van der Goes at wikiwand

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Hugo van der Goes at wikimedia commons

Thanks for Visiting 🙂


8 Comments Add yours

  1. shoreacres says:

    I swear the expression on the Virgin’s face comes across to me as saying, “Why won’t these fools go away and leave me in peace?” even though I suppose it’s meant to convey the peace of a beatific vision or some such.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I felt guilty for thinking that…lol, but that expression sure is ambiguous! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Linda. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ana Daksina says:

    I love Jesus’ body posture: “Mom! I’ve missed you so much!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for such a lovely thought, Ana. 🙂❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What’s striking about this painting is that a woman holds center stage among an all-male gathering.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. cindy knoke says:

    The colors are so beautifully unusual.


    1. I thought so, too, Cindy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. (don’t know why your comment went to pending??)


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