The Crucifixion (Primary Title)
Lastman was a Roman Catholic in predominantly Protestant Holland. Based in Amsterdam, he taught both Jan Lievens and Rembrandt. Lastman traveled in Italy between 1602 and 1607 and brought back to the Northern Netherlands the new style of dramatic lighting and stark realism initiated by Caravaggio.
Lastman became an influential painter of figurative scenes based on biblical themes and ancient history. This moving depiction of the Crucifixion was probably made for a Catholic patron’s private devotion. Though unofficially tolerated by the Protestants, mostly those in the sophisticated mercantile city of Amsterdam, prudent Catholics worshipped in either their own homes or in secret chapels.
Abraham Francen in His Study, a 1640 etching by Rembrandt, (below) shows how a devotional painting such as Lastman’s The Crucifixion was displayed in a private home. VMFA collection.
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