The carefully carved scene is charged with emotion conveyed by the dramatic attitudes of the figures and the complex folds of the voluminous drapery. The finely detailed surface reveals tears on the faces of Nicodemus and the Virgin. The composition is greatly indebted to the painter Rogier van der Weyden (1399–1464). While there is no evidence that Rogier or his shop actually carved wood sculpture, we know that he and other painters collaborated on sculptural projects, polychroming the carved pieces and possibly providing working drawings for sculptors.
Artist Master of the Arenberg Lamentation, Netherlandish
Title
  • The Lamentation
Date between 1470 and 1480
Medium Flemish and North German oak with traces of polychromy
Dimensions Overall (image): 34 3/4 × 54 3/4 × 9 3/4 inches (88.3 × 139.1 × 24.8 cm)
Overall (pedestal (to deck)): 47 × 68 1/2 × 19 inches (119.4 × 174 × 48.3 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Mrs. Edsel B. Ford
Accession Number 61.164
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W251, Level 2 (see map)
Engelbert-Marie, 9th Duke of Arenberg [1872-1949] (Brussels, Belgium);
By descent, Englebert-Charles, 10th Duke of Arenberg (Paris and Beaulieu sur Mer, France) [?];
By 1960, dealer, Edward Speelman (London, England);
1960-1961, dealer, Rosenberg and Stiebel (New York, New York, USA);
1961-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Destrée, J. "A propos de l'influence de Roger van der Weyden (Roger de la Pasture) sur la sculpture brabançonne." Annales de la Société Royale d'Archéologie de Bruxelles 28 (1919): pp. 7-11 (fig. 2).

Hulin, G. de Loo. "Notice sur van der Weyden." Biographie Nationale de Belgique 27 (1938): p. 235.

Michel, E. "Le Maitre de Francfort." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 2 (1934): p. 242 (fig. 8).

Leeuwenberg, J. "Laat middeleeuwsche beeldhouwkunst en hare ontleeningen." Oud Holland 59 (1942): pp. 121-122 (fig. 5).

Koch, R. "Two Sculpture Groups after Rogier's 'Descent from the Cross' in the Escorial." Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 11 (1948): p. 39-41 (note 3 and 6).

Roggen, D. "Prae-Sluteriaanse, Sluteriaanse, Post-Sluteriaanse Nederlandse sculptur." Gentse Bijdragen tot de Kunstgeschiedenis 16 (1955-1956): p. 173- 176 (fig. 38).

Verhaegen, N. "The Arenberg Lamentation." Bulletin of the DIA 41, 4 (Summer 1962): pp. 64-67 (ill.).

Verhaegen, N. "The Arenberg Lamentation in the Detroit Institute of Arts." The Art Quarterly 25 (1962): pp. 295-312 (ill.).

d'Otrange Mastai, M.L. "The Arenberg Lamentation Presented to Detroit." Connoisseur 152, 164 (1963): p. 276.

Müller, T. Sculpture in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain: 1400-1500. Middlesex 1966: p. 96 (pl. 110A).

Ministere de l'Education Nationale et de la Culture. Hommage a Roger de la Pasture-van der Weyden. Tournai, 1964, no. 41.

Detroit Institute of Arts. The Institute Collects. 1964-1965, p. 15 (ill.).

Friedländer, M. J. Early Netherlandish Painting, Vol. 2. New York, 1967, p. 90 (pl. 110). [addendum 139]

Sonkes, M. Les Primitifs Flamands. Dessins du XVe siècle: Groupe van der Weyden. Brussels, 1969, pp. 138-139.

Van Caster-Guiette, L. "Réminiscences rogériennes dans la sculpture brabançonne." Mélanges d'Archéologie et d'Histoire de l'Art offerts au professeur Jacques Lavalleye. Leuven, 1970, pp. 297-304 (pl. 78).

Cummings, F. & C. Elam, eds. DIA Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 79.

Davies, M. Rogier van der Weyden, An Essay with a Critical Catalogue of Paintings Assigned to Him and Robert Campin. London, 1972, pp. 237-238.

Musée Communal de Bruxelles, Maison du Roi, Rogier van der Weyden, Rogier de le Pasture. Peintre officiel de la Ville de Bruxelles, Portraitiste de la Cour de Bourgogne. Brussels, 1979, p. 160. [mentioned under cat. no. 24 as a comparative work]

Fredricksen, B. "A Flemish Deposition of ca. 1500 and its Relation to Rogier's Lost Composition." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 9 (1981): pp. 133-139 (fig. 6).

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, p. 138- 139 (ill.).

Chatelet, A. & R. Recht. Automne et Renouveau, 1380-1500. Paris, 1988: p. 118 (fig. 87).

Thürlemann, F. "Das Madrider Kreuzabnahme und die Pariser Grabtragung: das malerische und das zeichnerische Hauptwerk Robert Campins." Pantheon 51 (1993): p. 31 (fig. 25).

Steyaert, J. Late Gothic Sculpture: The Burgundian Netherlands. New York, 1994, pp. 78-79 (fig. 36).

Belting, H. & C. Kruse. Die Erfindung des Gemäldes: das erste Jahrhundert der niederländischen Malerei. Munich, 1994, p. 109.

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Huysmans A., et al. Beeldhouwkunst van de Zuidelijke Nederlanden en het Prinsbisdom Luik. 15de en 16de eeuw. Brussels, 2000, p. 80. [mentioned under cat. no. 31 as a comparative work]

Gillerman, D. et al. Gothic Sculpture in America, Vol. II. The Museums of the Midwest. Turnhout, 2001, cat. 127, pp. 168-170 (ill.).

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Woods, K. Imported Images: Netherlandish Late Gothic Sculpture in England, c. 1400-c.1550. Lincolnshire, 2007, pp. 25-26, (fig. 8). [mentioned under cat. 38 as a comparative work; mentioned under cat. 50 as a comparative work]

Lutz, G. "Das Kruzifix von Askeby und die altniederländische Skulptur." Nicht die Bibliothek, sondern das Auge. Westeuropäische Skulptur und Malerei an der Wende zur Neuzeit. Beiträge zu Ehren von Hartmut Krohm. Berlin, 2008, p. 118 (fig. 10).

Fransen, B. "Van goeden cusbaeren steenen. Steensculptuur in Brussel ten tijde van Rogier van der Weyden." Unpublished Ph.D. diss. Leuven University, 2009, pp. 172-175 (fig. 149).

Fransen, B. "A Passion for Carving: The Sculptor in Rogier van der Weyden." Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464 - Master of Passions. Leuven, 2009, p. 227-231 (fig. 119).

Campbell, L. & J. Van der Stock, eds. Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464 - Master of Passions. Leuven, 2009, pp. 520-521. [mentioned under cat. 79 as a comparative work]

Borchert, T. ed. Van Eyck to Dürer: The Influence of Early Netherlandish Painting on European Art, 1430-1530. London, 2010, p. 212. [mentioned under cat. 73 as a comparative work; cat. entry by S. Kemperdick]

You, Yao-Fen, Cathy Selvius De Roo, and John C. Steele, “Looking Anew at the ‘Arenberg Lamentation.’” In Rogier van der Weyden in Context. Papers presented at the Seventeenth Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting held in Leuven, 22–24 October 2009, ed. Lorne Campbell, Jan Van der Stock, Catherine Reynolds, and Lieve Watteeuw. Paris, Leuven, and Walpole, MA, 2012, pp. 312–318.

You, Yao-Fen, and John C. Steele. “Arenberg Lamentation Disassembled.” In Polychrome Sculpture: Tool Marks and Construction Techniques (ICOM-CC Interim Meeting, Working Group Sculpture, Polychromy, and Architectural Decoration, Maastricht 24–25 October 2010), ed. Kate Seymour. ICOM, 2014, p. 62.

Fransen, Bart. Rogier van der Weyden and Stone Sculpture in Brussels. Turnhout, 2013, pp. 165–167.

You, Yao-Fen. “Another Piece of the Rogerian Puzzle: Recent Findings on the Arenberg Lamentation.” In Rogier van der Weyden y España: actas del congreso internacional/proceedings of the international symposium, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, mayo de 2015, ed. Lorne Campbell and José Juan Pérez Preciado. Madrid, 2016, pp. 77-87.