Rijksmuseum acquires Claus Sluter sculpture
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam acquired a sculpture by Claus Sluter (ca. 1384-1482). He is seen as the founder of Dutch sculpture. According to the museum, this is his first work in a Dutch collection. The Calvary sculpture can be seen from Wednesday.
The work depicts the crucifixion of Christ with Mary and John the Evangelist. After art-historical and technical research, several experts determined that it is a work by Sluter, who came from Haarlem. He was the court sculptor of the Burgundian duke Philip the Bold in Dijon, in the period 1389-1406. For him he made three main works, which until now were the only certain works of Sluter. These are the portal statues of the monastery church of Champmol in Dijon, the mausoleum of the duke and the famous Moses well.
When the sculpture was purchased last spring, the museum did not yet know that it was made by Sluter. "Through extensive research and consultation of several specialists it gradually became clear that the striking style relationship of the Calvary with the three main works by Sluter in Dijon and the unique combination of a number of special motifs in the image, it could only be the work of this genius innovator and his studio," explained the museum.
Claus Sluter is known, according to the RIjks, as one of the greatest innovators of medieval art. "He introduced an unprecedented realism to sculpture. His attention to human emotion and natural details was unparalleled at the time."
According to museum director Taco Dibbits, acquiring the work fulfills a "deeply cherished wish" of the Rijks. The sculpture could be purchased with the help of the Mondriaan Fund, the Rembrandt Association and private donors.
Reporting by ANP