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The Northern French sculptor Jean Mone, who was allowed to bear the title of ‘artiste de l’empereur’, moved to Mechelen in 1524. The city paid him a stipend until his retirement in 1547. Mone played a pivotal role in the introduction of the antique (Italian) visual style in the Low Countries. His influence on Mechelen’s emergence as a production centre for carved alabaster is instrumental.
Three alabaster reliefs have been incorporated in a wooden architectural frame, with the characteristic antique columns and two gilded satyrs. Such compositions, better known as ‘house altars’, were extremely popular in 1550-1560 and were produced on a large scale. The small alabaster relief at the bottom depicts Christ on the road to Calvary. The centre alabaster features Christ on the Cross while the alabaster at the top depicts a pietà (the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus). The style of these three alabasters is different, which suggests that they are not all by the same maker. The attribution of this house altar to Jean Mone’s workshop is uncertain and requires further research.
Object type: house altar with alabaster relief
Maker: Jean Mone (c. 1485 - c. 1554?)
Date: around 1550
Medium: wood, alabaster
Dimensions: 105.5 x 79.0 cm
Inventory number: B0105
Origin: Acquired in 1938 at auction by the City of Mechelen.
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