Overview

Christ is shown here at the scene of his first miracle—the transformation of water into wine. He stands at the banquet table of a wedding, his right hand raised in a gesture of benediction, while a servant, pointing to the clay jars on the floor as if to explain what has just taken place, offers the bridal pair a goblet of the transformed liquid.

That the artist has absorbed the traditions of 15th–century Flemish painting is evident in his mastery of the oil technique and his meticulous rendering of texture and minute detail. Combined with these elements are purely Spanish ones, such as the solemn faces with downturned mouths and the recognizably Spanish costumes.

The unidentified artist's name is derived from his principal work, The Altarpiece of the Catholic Kings, of which this panel is a part. Visible among the heraldic devices are the insignia of provinces united by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. The additional presence of the Holy Roman Emperor's coat–of–arms implies that The Marriage at Cana also alludes to two contemporary weddings significant in European history—those of Ferdinand and Isabella's daughter Juana in 1496 to the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I of Austria, and their son Juan in 1497 to the Holy Roman Emperor's daughter.

Inscription

on border of tablecloth: AVE*GRATIA*PLENA*DOMINUS*TECU BENEDICTATU*INMUILERIBUS (Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women) (Luke 1:28); on border of Christ's tunic: QUID MIHI ET TIBI EST MULLER (What have I to do with thee, woman?) (John 2:4); on towel over shoulders of attendant on right: SA*RN*VMT / AEN*D*VI; on border of Mary's mantle (in relief, deciphered with infrared reflectography): OVOSONRVM

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Possibly commissioned for a convent or church in Valladolid, Spain.[1] Before 1919, José María de Palacio, Conde de las Almenas, Madrid;[2] sold 28 March 1919 to (Frank Partridge and Sons, Ltd., London).[3] Dr. Preston Pope Satterwhite [1867-1948], New York, by 1933;[4] possibly purchased by (French & Co., New York).[5] purchased 1941 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[6] gift 1952 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1935
Exhibition of Spanish Painting, The Brooklyn Museum, 1935, no. 6.
1937
Spanish Paintings, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1937, no cat.
1941
Spanish Painting, The Toledo [Ohio] Museum of Art, 1941, no. 27.
1951
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951, 180, no. 79.

Bibliography

1913
Mayer, August L. Geschichte der spanishchen Malerei. Leipzig, 1922: 145, fig. 113 (also Spanish ed. Madrid, 1942: 166, fig. 135).
1933
Post, Chandler Rathfon. A History of Spanish Painting. 14 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1930-1966: 4, pt 2:418-419, fig. 164.
1935
Mayer, August L. "Pinturas castellanas procedentes de la colección Rojo y Sojo." Revista española de arte 12 (1934-1935): 205, 110.
1935
Philipps, Gerry. "Spanish Painting at Brooklyn." Magazine of Art 28 (1935): 675, repro.
1937
Clifford, Henry. "Great Spanish Painters: A Timely Show." Art News 35 (17 April, 1937): 9, repro. 8.
1939
Mayer, August L. "Late XVth Century Castilian Painting." Apollo 29 (1939): 281.
1941
Frothingham, Alice W. Hispanic Glass. New York, 1941: 29, fig. 20.
1952
Brans, J. V. L. Isabel la católica y el arte hispanoflamenco. Madrid, 1952: 130-132.
1955
Gudiol y Ricart, José. Pintura gótica. Ars Hispaniae 9. Madrid, 1955: 355, fig. 311.
1956
King, Marian. Portrait of Jesus: Paintings and Engravings from the National Gallery. Philadelphia, 1956: 28, repro. 29.
1958
Gaya Nuño, Juan Anotonio. La pintura española fuera de España; historia y catàlogo. Madrid, 1958: 274, no. 2246.
1959
_Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 263, repro.
1965
_Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 86.
1966
Gudiol y Ricart, José. "El Pintor Diego de la Cruz." Goya 70 (1966): 214-215.
1968
Cuttler, Charles D. Northern Painting from Pucelle to Brueghel. New York, 1968: 254, fig. 317.
1968
_European Paintings and Sculpture: Illustrations (Companion to the Summary Catalogue, 1965). Washington, 1968: 75, repro.
1975
_European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 224, repro.
1977
Eisler, Colin. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian. Oxford, 1977: 177-178, 181-182, fig. 183.
1979
Anderson, Ruth Mathilda. Hispanic Costume: 1480-1530. New York, 1979: 35, 49, 83, 109, 169, 189, figs. 26, 84, 205, 269, color pl. 11.
1981
O'Meara, Carra Fergusson. "In the Hearth of the Virginal Womb: The Iconography of the Holocaust in Late Medieval Art." The Art Bulletin 63, no. 1 (March 1981): 86, n. 58.
1982
Abrams, Richard I. and Warner A. Hutchinson. An Illustrated Life of Jesus, From the National Gallery of Art Collection. Nashville, 1982
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 142, no. 144, color repro.
1985
_European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 255, repro.
1990
Brown, Jonathan, and Richard G. Mann. Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1990: 93-101, color repro. 95.
1992
_National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 76, repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 70-71, no. 51, color repro.

Technical Summary


[1] The woods of the original support and the added pieces were analyzed by Michael Palmer, NGA scientific department.

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