Altar Frontal with Man of Sorrows and Saints

Nuremberg, circa 1465
Wool, linen, and metallic thread (gilt membrane on silk) on linen; 35¼ x 65½ in. (89.5 x 166.4 cm.)
The Cloisters, New York City, 1991.156

Christ as the Man of Sorrows displays his five wounds, the blood from his beatings, the crown of thorns, and the "royal" cloak put on him by the soldiers. As in most Man of Sorrows images, he is flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist (cup of poison, no beard), but the work is unusual in that Christ stands erect with his eyes open. Conventionally the Man of Sorrows is dead and is being held up for the viewer's contemplation at his sepulcher.

On the far left and right are Saints John the Baptist (lamb on book) and Jerome (lion with thorn, cardinal's garb).

The museum has identified the coat of arms in the lower left-hand corner as belonging to a Martin Pessler and his wife, who lived in Nuremberg.

More of the Man of Sorrows
More of St. John the Baptist
More of St. John the Evangelist
More of St. Jerome

Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City