In a forthcoming article, Larry Silver will argue that this painting draws inspiration from his father's models and provide further evidence for probable sources to Pieter's work.
Similarities to the Jan Brueghel the Elder Crucifixion in Vienna support our opinion that this painting is genuine. The group in the foreground is identical: servants are fighting over Christ’s cloak. The two guards in red and blue are standing in the same position, while a cavalier carrying a heavy basket on his back is watching the three men fighting on the ground. in the background, melting into the blue, we can perceive a fortress resembling a citadel, representing Jerusalem: it is on the right in the copper in Vienna and on the left in ours. The only real difference in the narration of the episode is that in this version, the three crosses are fixed in place, whereas in the Viennese version, the left-hand cross for the thief is in the process of being erected.
An important difference is the figures at the lower left corner who seem to represent the souls in limbo awaiting Christ’s resurrection so that they can be freed to go to heaven. This is a very unusual element in a crucifixion scene, which Larry Silver’s forthcoming article will investigate.
- Elizabeth Honig