The Mass of Saint Gregory the Great

Object Details


The Mass of Saint Gregory the Great


Adriaen Ysenbrandt (Netherlandish, 1480 - 1551)




1510 to 1550


Oil on panel


36.2 × 29.2 cm (14 1/4 × 11 1/2 in.)

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In an elaborately detailed Gothic cathedral, Pope Gregory the Great kneels before the crucified Christ, who has miraculously appeared before the congregation. While saying mass one day, Pope Gregory became aware of a disbeliever and began to pray for a sign that would leave no doubt about the real presence of Christ in the Mass. Showing his stigmata and surrounded by instruments of his Passion, Christ materializes before the Pope. Gregory sees the vision first, gazing intently above as he spreads his hands in amazement.

Adriaen Ysenbrandt used gold-colored paint liberally to describe decorative candlesticks, censers, goblets, and the fine liturgical vestments. The church's ornate interior was rendered in crisp detail. In contrast, the figures' faces were softly and loosely painted, giving their features a blurred effect.

1854/1857 - 1869

Henry Labouchère, first baron Taunton, 1798 - 1869 (Quantock Lodge, Bridgewater, Somerset, England), possibly by inheritance to his second wife, Mary Matilda Georgiana Labouchère, 1869.

possibly 1869 - possibly 1892

Mary Matilda Georgiana Labouchère, baroness of Taunton, 1823 - 1892 (Quantock Lodge, Somerset, England), possibly by inheritance to her eldest daughter, Mary Dorothy (Labouchère) Stanley, possibly 1892.

possibly 1892 -

Mary Dorothy (Labouchère) Stanley, died 1920

by 1926 -

Paul Bottenwieser (Berlin, Germany)

by 1927 -

E. Bolton (New York, New York)

1931 - 1932

Paul Bottenwieser (Berlin, Germany), sold to Harold Sidney Harmsworth.

1932 - 1941

Harold Sidney Harmsworth, first viscount Rothermere, 1868 - 1940 (Stody Lodge, Norfolk, England) [sold, Rothermere sale, Christie's, London, December 19, 1941, lot 81, to Wall.]

1941 -

Source: annotated auction catalogue (GRS): Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of Important Ancient and Modern Pictures and Drawings: Sold by Order of the Executors of the Late Rt. Hon. Viscount Rothermere [...]. December 19, 1941, lot 81

- 1949

Private Collection (England), sold to Wildenstein & Co.,1949.

1949 - 1969

Wildenstein & Co. (New York) (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1969.

Flandres, Espagne, Portugal du XVe au XVIIe siècle (May 19 to July 31, 1954)
  • Galerie des Beaux-Arts (Bordeaux), May 19 to July 31, 1954
Religious Themes in Painting from the 14th Century Onwards (March 16 to May 5, 1962)
  • Wildenstein & Co. (London), March 16 to May 5, 1962
The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972

Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of More than Forty Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss. [...] Visited in 1854 and 1856, and Now for the First Time Described (London: John Murray, 1857), p. 104.

Paul Bottenwieser advertisement. Art News 24, no. 31 (New York) (May 8, 1926), p. 12.

Konody, Paul George. Works of Art in the Collection of Viscount Rothermere (London: Privately printed for Viscount Rothermere, 1932), pl. 44.

Friedländer, Max J. Die altniederländische Malerei. Vol. 11, Die Antwerpener Manieristen: Adriaen Ysenbrant (Berlin: Paul Cassirer, 1933), pp. 96; 138, no. 202; 152; pl. 73, no. 202.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of Important Ancient and Modern Pictures and Drawings: Sold by Order of the Executors of the Late Rt. Hon. Viscount Rothermere, Also Old Pictures [...]. December 19, 1941, p. 16, lot 81, ill.

Bénézit, Emmanuel. "Isenbrant, Ysenbrant ou Hysebrant (Adriaen)." In Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays. Vol. 5 (1952; repr., Paris: Librairie Gründ, 1966), vol. 5, p. 77.

Martin-Méry, Gilberte. Flandres, Espagne, Portugal du XVe au XVIIe siècle, exh. cat. (Bordeaux: Galerie des Beaux-Arts, with Delmas, 1954), pp. 55-56, no. 35.

Bury, Adrian. Religious Themes in Painting from the 14th Century Onwards: In Aid of the National Trust, exh. cat. (London: Wildenstein, 1962), unpaginated, no. 36, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), p. 62, no. 76, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Collection, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1972), unpaginated, no. 54, ill.

Friedländer, Max J. Early Netherlandish Painting.Vol. 11, The Antwerp Mannerists: Adriaen Ysenbrandt. Heinz Norden, trans. (Leiden and Brussels: A. W. Sijthoff and La Connaissance, 1974), pp. 55, 90, no. 202, pl. 144.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 106, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 137, ill.

Ainsworth, Maryan W. "Old Assumptions Reconsidered Through Revised Methodologies." In Le dessin sous-jacent et la technologie dans la peinture, colloque XI, 14-16 septembre 1995, Roger van Schoute and Hélène Verougstraete, eds. (Louvain-La-Neuve: Collège Érasme, 1997), pp. 105-6, figs. 51-53.

Ainsworth, Maryan W. Gerard David: Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1998), pp. 292, 311n93.

Giorgi, Rosa. Angeli e demoni. I Dizionari dell' Arte.Stefano Zuffi, ed. (Milan: Electa, 2003), p. 152, ill.

Giorgi, Rosa. Engel, Dämonen und phantastische Wesen (Berlin: Parthas Verlag, 2004), p. 152, ill.

Giorgi, Rosa. Angels and Demons in Art. Stefano Zuffi, ed. Rosanna M. Giammanco Frongia, trans. (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), p. 152, ill.

Marshall, Peter. The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 55, fig. 6.

Related Media
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    Audio: Mass of Saint Gregory Great, feat. Ed Ruscha