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The Bad Thief

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

The Bad Thief

Culture Group: Flemish
Culture Group: or German
Culture: Flemish; German
Date: c. 1525
Medium: Stained glass and lead
22 1/4 x 16 1/2 inches (56.5 x 41.9 cm)
Classification: Decorative Art
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Ella Brummer in memory of her husband, Ernest Brummer.
Label Text:In the story of the life of Jesus Christ, two thieves were executed with him at his Crucifixion. The so-called Good Thief recognized that Christ was the Savior and repented for his sins. The Bad Thief, seen here, did not repent and is shown with a downcast gaze away from Christ. The small figure of a devil stands in the upper left of the panel, waiting to receive his soul. Several other depictions of the crucifixion can be seen in the next gallery.

The figure of the thief is executed in grisaille, painting in monochrome or near monochrome on clear, colorless glass. In the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods, artists favored this technique as it allowed them to explore nuances of shading and anatomy not visible on brightly colored glass. The stars that appear against the bright blue background are indicative of work found in Germany in the sixteenth century.

Object number: 1978.20.4
In Collection(s)