Hubert van Eyck ? – 1426

The Three Marys at the Tomb

oil on panel (72 × 89 cm) — c. 1425 Museum Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

This work is linked to Mark 16:1

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Dressed in 15th century Burgundian fashion three women stand by the empty grave. The angel tells them what has happened: Christ has risen from the grave. The guards are sound asleep. The women carry bottles with ointment and spices to tend to the body of Christ. In the background is the city of Jerusalem.

None of the gospels describe the scene quite as Van Eyck painted it, but it is closest to Matthew. Only Matthew mentions the angel on the entrance to the grave and the sleeping guards.

Mark mentions Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of James, as well as Salome and a young man sitting next to the grave. The young man could very well be the angel Van Eyck shows.

Luke identifies the women as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, mother of James. Luke adds two men standing by them in shiny garments.

John only mentions Mary Magdalene visiting the grave.

For a long time this work was attributed to Jan van Eyck. Art historians now agree that it is more likely the work of him and his lesser-known brother, Hubert.

D.G. van Beuningen, a Rotterdam merchant, acquired the painting in 1940 from an English collection, the Cook Collection. It arrived in Rotterdam two days before the German invasion. In 1958 the Van Beuningen collection was handed over to the museum.

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