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A Garland of Flowers Surrounding a Mocking of Christ

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

A Garland of Flowers Surrounding a Mocking of Christ

Artist: Daniel Seghers , and (Dutch, 1590–1661)
Artist: Simon de Vos (Flemish, 1603–1676)
Culture: Dutch
Date: c. 1643
Medium: Oil on canvas
51 1/2 x 42 inches (130.8 x 106.7 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Gift in honor of Marilyn M. Segal by her children
Label Text:Garland paintings were a popular type in northern Europe in the 1600s and consisted of a devotional image surrounded by a flower garland or wreath. They were often created by two artists specialized in different areas, such as the figure or still life. Here, Simon de Vos painted the central religious scene, which shows the Mocking of Christ by Roman soldiers, prior to Christ’s death by crucifixion. Around this, Daniel Seghers painted vivid, detailed flowers and greenery. The flowers symbolize the bounty and transience of life, and represent the region’s wealth from trade—many of the species depicted in garland paintings were rare, expensive imports.

As a collaboration, this type of painting displays two different artistic styles, calling attention to the artificiality and illusion of painting itself. At the same time, with its double-framed subject, the painting emphasizes the importance of devotional imagery, a belief stressed by the Catholic Church during the Counter-Reformation, when religious art came under attack. From the late 1630s through the mid-1640s, Seghers executed (with various other artists) twenty garland paintings for the Catholic Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Antwerp, Belgium. This painting is thought to have been part of that commission.

Provenance: Altar of St. Louis Gonzaga, Jesuit Church of St. Charles Borromeo (formerly St. Ignatius), Antwerp; sold May 20, 1777 upon suppression of the order. Purchased May 1922 through C. Oorni sale by private collector. Purchased December 6, 1989 through (Sotheby's London, lot 72) by Richard D. Segal; gift 1998 to Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 1998.22.8