The Dream of Pope Sergius

Object Details


The Dream of Pope Sergius


Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (Netherlandish, 1399/1400 - 1464)




late 1430s


Oil on panel


90.2 x 81.3 cm (35 1/2 x 32 in.)

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A cut-away wall reveals a small bedroom where an angel appears to Pope Sergius in his sleep. The angel tells Sergius that the bishop Saint Lambert has been assassinated and Sergius is to appoint a new bishop, Saint Hubert. The angel holds a bishop's miter and crozier formerly belonging to Saint Lambert. To the right, the Pope and two cardinals go out into a brick enclosure, meeting a lawyer or noble and a Franciscan friar, who both kneel before the papal retinue and present petitions requesting benefits or indulgences. In the far distance, on the steps of the early Saint Peter's Cathedral, Pope Sergius presents Saint Hubert with the bishop's miter and staff.

The artists made an imaginative effort to recreate Rome as it would have appeared at that time. The depiction of minutely detailed objects and the ability to portray space in a convincing manner were among the major achievements of Netherlandish painters in the 1400s.

The Dream of Pope Sergius and its companion, The Exhumation of Saint Hubert in the National Gallery, London, were probably wings from a lost altarpiece that stood in the Chapel of Saint Hubert in the church of Saint Gudule, Brussels.

before about 1623 -

Church of Sainte Gudule (Brussels, Belgium)

by 1796 - 1850

Frederick Ponsonby, third earl of Bessborough, 1758 - 1844 (Bessborough House, Surrey, England) [unsold, Bessborough sale, Christie's, London, May 7, 1796, lot 34; sold, Bessborough sale, Christie's, London, July 11, 1850, lot 186, to Webb.]

1850 - 1851

Webb, sold to Henry Labouchère, 1851.

1851 - 1869

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

1869 - 1892

Mary Matilda Georgiana Labouchère, baroness of Taunton, 1823 - 1892 (Quantock Lodge, Somerset, England), by inheritance to the daughter of Henry Labouchère by his first marriage, Mrs. Edward James Stanley, 1892.

1892 -

Mrs. Edward James Stanley, died 1920 (Quantock Lodge, Somerset, England)

by 1923 - about 1924

Ayerst Hooker Buttery, died 1929 (London, England)

in 1924 -

Kleinberger Galleries

before 1928 - 1931

Mortimer Leo Schiff, 1877 - 1931 (New York, New York), by inheritance to his son, John Mortimer Schiff, 1931.

1931 - 1938

John Mortimer Schiff, 1904 - 1987 (New York, New York) [sold, Schiff sale, Christie's, London, June 6, 1938, lot 84, to S. Rosenberg.]

1938 -

S. Rosenberg (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

by 1945 - 1972

von Pannwitz (Haartekamp, The Netherlands; New York, New York; Brazil), sold through French and Company (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972.

Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives (October to November 1929) (Cat. 10; lent by Schiff)
  • Kleinberger Galleries, (Paris), October 1, 1929 to November 1, 2029
A Century of Progress (June to November 1934) (lent by Schiff)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, June 1 to November 1, 1934
Tentoonstelling van Schilderijen beeldhouwwerken, en teekeningen uit particuliere verzamelingen in Nederland (1939 to 1940) (47)
  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, (Rotterdam), 1939 to 1940
Nederlandsche Kunst van de XVde en XVIde Eeuw (September 1 to October 21, 1945) (84)
  • Mauritshuis, (The Hague), September 1 to October 21, 1945
The Conservation of Paintings (1976) (84)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), 1976
Rogier van der Weyden - Rogier de le Pasture (October 6 to November 18, 1979) (2 Y)
  • Musée Communal de Bruxelles, Maison du Roi, (Brussels), October 6 to November 18, 1979
Rogier van der Weyden: 600th Anniversary of His Birth (March 18 to July 4, 1999) (2 Y)
  • The National Gallery (London), March 18 to July 4, 1999
Birth of Modern Painting (November 21, 2008 to June 21, 2009) (24)
  • Staedel Institute, (Frankfurt am Main), November 21, 2008 to March 1, 2009
  • Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, (Berlin), March 20 to June 21, 2009
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