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Venne, Jan van der
The Crucifixion of St. Philip the Apostle The Crucifixion of St. Philip the Apostle
probably 1630s probably 1630s

Van de Venne’s choice of subject matter speaks of his southern Netherlandish context and the patronage of the Roman Catholic Church that came in the wake of the Council of Trent (1545–1563). Pictorial representations of the martyrdom of the Apostle Philip followed the Church’s call to emphasize the great tradition of saints and martyrs, which challenged the Protestant Reformers’ negation of their role. According to the Gospel of John, Philip was the Apostle chosen by Jesus after Peter, and it was Philip who subsequently brought Nathaniel into the fold. The Golden Legend tells that when Philip, preaching in Scythia, was ordered by pagans to worship Mars, a vicious dragon issued from the idol. He was later executed by crucifixion, and his body, buried first in Hierapolis, was subsequently translated to Constantinople and thence to Rome. Here, Jan van de Venne shows Philip before he is attached to the already mounted cross, his hands clasped in prayer and his kneeling pose full of tension. This moving portrayal of the Apostle perhaps reflects the modesty traditionally associated with Philip’s character but conveys none of the serenity typically attributed to saints facing their ultimate test of faith.

 
Venne, Jan van der
Mechelen, Belgium ?–Brussels, Belgium before 1651 Mechelen, Belgium ?–Brussels, Belgium before 1651
The Crucifixion of St. Philip the Apostle The Crucifixion of St. Philip the Apostle
probably 1630s probably 1630s
Oil on panel Oil on panel
height / width: 98.20 x 72.30 cm; 38.66 x 28.46 in.
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1983 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1983
26-003

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