Christ appearing to the Virgin

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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The resurrected Christ has appeared to the Virgin Mary in a room in a fifteenth-century Netherlandish house. The appearance of Christ to the Virgin is not mentioned in the Gospels, but it was widely believed that immediately after the Resurrection he revealed himself first to his mother.

In the nineteenth-century this was hung with a Pentecost which was on panel and was the same size. The two paintings appear to be from the same complex, perhaps a large polyptych of the Passion (Christ’s torture and crucifixion). Both could have had painted reverses and may well have come from the folding wings of a carved altarpiece.

The composition is based on the right panel of Rogier van der Weyden’s Miraflores Altarpiece (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin) but the poor drawing and exaggerated gestures of both this and the Pentecost distance them from the artist.

The National Gallery, London



Christ appearing to the Virgin


late 15th century


Oil on canvas transferred from wood


H 123.4 x W 70.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bequeathed by Mrs Joseph H. Green, 1880

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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