Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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Christ gazes directly out at us from this small panel. Raising his right hand in blessing, he holds in his left hand a glass or crystal orb, decorated with gold bands set with pearls. On top of the orb is a jewelled gold cross and Christ wears a brooch set with precious stones.

This is Christ as Salvator Mundi (‘Saviour of the World’); the praying Virgin in the other panel is interceding with him on behalf of sinful humanity. Close observation reveals the fronts of three gabled houses reflected in the orb. This panel would probably have been used for private meditation, and the artist is cleverly suggesting the earthly realm of the Renaissance viewer.

The National Gallery, London





probably about 1500-50


Oil on oak


H 58.2 x W 33 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1857

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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