Acquisition of Quinten Metsys’ Christ Blessing

The Klesch Collection is delighted to start off the new year with the announcement of an important acquisition, that of Christ Blessing by Quinten Metsys, one of the most prominent Flemish painters at the turn of the 16th century and founder of the Antwerp school of painting.

A rare discovery, this painting is as delicate as it is powerful. Originally intended for private devotion, Metsys’ execution is exquisitely detailed, depicting a figure of Christ that inspires quiet introspection. Metsys’ innovation and brilliance are evident in the naturalistic rendering of Christ’s proper left palm and thumb, illuminated from below by a golden hue (perhaps by the light of a candle placed in front of the painting), bringing this divine figure closer to the beholder’s space. The intricate details on the paint surface are miraculously well-preserved, including the fine ‘beaded’ strokes that form each one of the eyelashes.

Until its rediscovery in 2006, the painting hung quietly and unrecognised on a side wall in the Holy Trinity Church in Bradford-on-Avon. It soon achieved universal acceptance as the primary version of one of Metsys’ most repeated compositions. A key piece in Metsys’ oeuvre, and in the history of painting in Antwerp, its importance cannot be understated.

Quinten Metsys, Christ Blessing, c. 1491–1505