Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, British, 1754 - 1842
Edward Coke, 7th Earl of Leicester, British, 1936 - 2015
July 2, 1991
Christie's (London), lot 62
Art Market London
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The Seven Acts of Mercy: Freeing the Prisoners
Pieter Cornelisz. (Kunst) (Dutch, about 1484 - 1560/1561)
Pen and black ink over black chalk
23 × 16.8 cm (9 1/16 × 6 5/8 in.)
To secure the release of the prisoners on the left, a generous man hands a coin to an official holding a long rod. A guard unlocks the shackles from a man crouched on the ground, while two more wait to be liberated from the stocks. In the darkness above their heads a candle gleams brightly, contrasting with the desolate
Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst decided to eliminate the figure of Christ from the scene and to fill it instead with contemporary figures. Both the official and the kind stranger wear garments possessed by most middle-class merchants in the Netherlands in the 1500s: long overcoats shaped like a clergyman's cassock over a short tunic and hose. The artist also used clear gestures and facial expressions to silently convey the