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St. Liberata Triptych

Hieronymus Bosch

St. Liberata Triptych

Hieronymus Bosch
  • Date: 1500 - 1504
  • Style: Northern Renaissance
  • Genre: religious painting
  • Media: oil, panel
  • Tag: Christianity, saints-and-apostles
  • Dimensions: 119 x 104 cm
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The Crucifixion of St Julia is a triptych by the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. Like many Bosch paintings, the date of this work was long disputed, until dendochronologic analysis assigned it to around 1497. It is housed at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice.

According to some historians, Bosch could have painted this work during a short trip to northern Italy, although it is more likely that it was a commission from an Italian trader or diplomat active in the Flanders.

The earliest mention of the triptych comes from the 1771 treatise Della pittura veneziana, as located in the Palazzo Ducale's "Sala dell'Eccelso Tribunale". In 1893 it was moved by the Austrians to Vienna, where it remained until 1919 when it was returned to Venice. The work has been damaged by a fire, although its attribution to Bosch has never been disputed.

The central panel depicts the crucifixion of a saint usually identified with Saint Julia of Corsica (sometimes with Saint Wilgefortis). In a depiction related to Christ's crucifixion, the centrally themed woman is in an elevated position against the sky, balanced by a large crowd gathered at the foot of the cross, including executioners and common people. A typical element is the fainting man supported by his neighbors.

The sides show two cities: at right, a port characterized by fanciful domed buildings and several sunken ships; at left is city on fire, occupied by demons. At the bottom are several parapets, with, at left, a hermit with a dark hood (perhaps St. Anthony in Meditation), and, at right, a monk and a soldier who point at the central panel, traditionally identified as slave-dealers.

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