Albrecht Bouts (ca. 1451/55-1549)
The portrait of the Lord, often accompanied by a representation of his mother, is one of the subject matters that is most suitable for private devotion (devotio moderna) and highly valued by the faithful. Albrecht Bouts (1451/55-1549), son of Dirk Bouts (ca. 1415-1475), the official painter of the city of Louvain in the Burgundian Netherlands, created five original versions of the Christ Crowned with Thorns that were widely copied by his assistants. With its face tilted to the right and its open hands showing the wounds of the Passion, the head and shoulders portrait formed the left wing of the diptych. It is one of the five original compositions. Executed with great skill, both the painting and the Mater Dolorosa, its matching piece, were painted by the master himself between 1495 and 1500. From the beginning they formed a diptych as is proven by the original golden backgrounds embellished with red brown dots and the trompe-l'oeil imitations of marble on their backs. When the diptych was not open for prayer, hinges attached to the now lost original frame allowed it to be closed like a book. These elements suggest that the diptych could be the result of a prestigious commission.