Christ Giving His Blessing
Hans Memling (Netherlandish, c.1430/40-1494)
On View

Hans Memling was the leading painter in Bruges during the last quarter of the fifteenth century. His Christ Giving His Blessing recalls an iconographic type found in early Christian and Byzantine sacred icons, but echoes the later compositional types of Rogier van der Weyden, in whose workshop Memling presumably worked before settling in Bruges. Unlike the work of his predecessors, however, Memling's portrait of Christ is neither severe nor characterized by tragic pathos. In form and feeling, it presages Italian portraiture from the following decade: the search for clarity and order, the monumental effect achieved by filling the frame with Christ's head and shoulders, and the close-up view of the delicately modeled face against a neutral background. The gentle spirit and grace of the Redeemer, presented in fully human terms in this compelling devotional image, marks Memling’s debt to Rogier, but also his status as someone who transformed religious and portrait imagery throughout Europe from that point forward.


  • Artist Name: Hans Memling (Netherlandish, c.1430/40-1494)
  • Title: Christ Giving His Blessing
  • Date: 1478
  • Medium: Oil on oak panel
  • Dimensions: comp: 14-3/8 x 10-1/2 in. (36.5 x 26.7 cm); panel: 15-1/8 x 11-1/8 in. (38.4 x 28.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
  • Accession Number: M.1974.17.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Don Manuel I, King of Portugal, Palacio das Necessidades, Lisbon, sold 1910 to;
[Duveen Brothers, London and New York, sold 1927 to];
Dr. and Mrs. A. Hamilton Rice, New York, sold 1957 to;
[M. Knoedler & Co., New York, jointly owned with Pinakos, Ltd., New York, stock no. A6680, as The Blessing Christ; sold 5 April 1964 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art, 1300-1900

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Masterpieces of Art

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Flemish Primitives. Exhibition Organized by the Belgian Government Through the Belgian Information Center, New York

  • New York, M. Knoedler and Co., 1942-04-13 to 1942-05-09

Le Siècle des Primitifs Flamands

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Flanders in the 15th Century: Art and Civilization

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