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European Paintings and Sculpture from Joslyn Art Museum

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A widely circulated image in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Northern Europe records a vision that occurred during a Mass performed by Pope Gregory the Great. According to one version of the legend, Christ appeared on the altar in response to a spectator who doubted his true presence in the Eucharist. In the Mass of Saint Gregory, Christ is portrayed as the Man of Sorrows. He is alive but bears the wounds of the Crucifixion, with blood streaming from his side into a chalice on the altar. Gregory kneels before it, a Crucifixion-imprinted Eucharistic wafer in his hands. He is accompanied by an entourage of assistants and church leaders. Dressed in copes similar to those of Saint Gregory, a deacon and subdeacon assist in the celebration of the Mass. At the end of the altar, two blond altar boys hold candles. The cardinal at lower left wears a red robe, his hat hanging down his back. Directly behind Gregory, a man in a red fur-lined robe holds his papal tiara, while to his right a bishop holds his crosier.


Joslyn Art Museum granted permission to the University of Nebraska at Omaha Libraries to deposit this chapter for research and educational purposes and graciously provided high resolutions images of the art they own that can be found as an additional file. They own the copyright to the contents of this book.

Any reuse must be obtained from all the rights holders directly.

Mass of Saint Gregory, early 16th century oil on panel 27x20.5in. Gift of Mr. Himan Brown, 1961.570

Mass_of_Saint_Gregory_16th_Century.tif (291843 kB)
Mass of Saint Gregory, early 16th Century oil on panel