The Mass of Saint Gregory the Great
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Adrien Ysenbrandt
Netherlandish, about 1510 - 1550
Oil on panel
14 1/4 x 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 materialized 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 figure's faces were softly and loosely painted, giving their features a blurred effect.

Technical Views

Pentimento near saint
Pentimento near saint's head

Infrared image
Infrared image