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The Flagellation: M.8-1938

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Flagellation


Maker: workshop of Nardon Penicaud
Maker: Penicaud, Nardon
Printmaker: Schongauer, Martin (After)




Copper decorated with polychrome enamels, jewelling, and gilding. The Flagellation of Christ by a group of tormentors. Above the architectural background a pair of putti hold up a shield bearing the initials IHS

Rectangular copper plaque with drawing in black over a white ground covered with translucent blue, turquoise, green, tan, and mulberry enamels, opaque red, white, and black enamels; blue, red, and green enamel jewelling over presumed silver foils, and gilding. The counter enamel is a semi-translucent, unevenly dappled dark brown, with many tiny raised dots, and several large corrosion craters. Christ stands in the centre tied with his arms behind his back to a mulberry column. He is naked except for a white loin cloth and his arms, torso and legs are covered with horizontal lines of drops of blood. His mulberry-coloured cloak lies in the foreground on greensward scattered with numerous flowers with red and green jewelled centres and white dotted petals. Two men on the right and one on the left stand with their arms raised holding bunches of green twigs with which they are about to strike Christ. Another man kneels on the left holding a snaking cord in his right hand and a crown of thorns in his left. The head of another is visible behind the column. Above the figures there is a black drape bordered by a curved line of red, blue and green jewels with white dotted edges. Above it, two fluted arches with jewelled edges spring from the green capital of the column. In the spandrel between them is a green mask, and a blue shield bearing the mnogram IHS in gothic letters, held up by two putti who lie horizontally on the top of the arches. Remnants of lavish gilding are visible on the figures and arches. The narrow gilt-metal inner frame has eighteen flower headed rivets. The outer frame of the stand is covered in very worn crimson velvet and is backed by crimson damask with a hinged prop in the middle.


History note: Sir Francis Cook Bart. (1817-1901); Wyndham Francis Cook (1860–1905); Humphrey Wyndham Cook (1893–1978); sold Christie’s, 7-10 July 1925, Catalogue of an important collection of objects of art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the property of Humphrey W. Cook, Esq., and removed from 8 Cadogan Square, S.W., Being a portion of the Celebrated Collection formed by the late Sir Francis Cook, Bart., 2nd Day, 8 July, p. 47, first part of lot 205, described as framed but illustrated unframed; L.D. Cunliffe (1860–1937).

Legal notes

L.D. Cunliffe Bequest, 1937

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France
  • Colmar ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1937) by Cunliffe, Leonard Daneham


16th Century, Early#
Circa 1515 CE - 1525 CE


This Flagellation and its companion plaque of the Crowning of Christ with Thorns (M.9-1938) probably formed the left and right wings of a triptych with the Crucifixion in the centre, as these subjects do on an example in the Museo Sacro Vaticano. The figures and garment in the foreground were derived from a print in a series of twelve illustrating the Passion of Christ by Martin Schongauer (c. 1441-1491), or from a copy after it. (See Documentation, Bartsch and Hollstein). The architectural setting was omitted, and the figures were depicted in more static and less muscular style. The man at the front of the group on the right follows the print in having his feet and legs facing away from the viewer, but the enameller has created a torso and head facing the viewer. The plaque was attributed to the workshop of Nardon Penicaud on its accession. The treatment of the draping of Christ’s loin cloth and the jewelled flowerheads on this plaque are very close in style to those on the Crucifixion plaque signed by Nardon Pénicaud and dated 1503 (Musée de Cluny, Paris), but although the faces of the figures have similarly long noses, they are treated with greater realism, which suggests that the plaque was made some years later. The triptych in the Museo Sacro Vaticano is also attributed to Nardon Pénicaud. There is very little deterioration of the blues and manganese-purples, which suggests that it was made later than the Deposition (MAR.M.250-1912) which has considerable degrading of the manganese-purples, probably in the 1520s. The metal frame and red velvet-covered mount are typical of French 19th century mounting of painted enamels. The scarlet damask backing and prop could have been made for it while it was in Leonard D. Cunliffe's collection or possibly, after it entered the Fitzwilliam's collection.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( translucent blue, turquoise, green, tan, and mulberry opaque red, white, and black) gold
Plaque composed of copper Height 28.5 cm Width 11.5 cm
Foils composed of silver
Inner Frame Height 30.8 cm Width 14 cm
Outer Frame Height 34 cm Width 17.5 cm

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: in gothic letters

  • Text: IHS
  • Location: On blue shield in spandrel between arches
  • Method of creation: Painted in gold
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.8-1938
Primary reference Number: 139848
Inventory number: B39
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 27 February 2024 Last processed: Tuesday 27 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "The Flagellation" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-21 08:30:36

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