Froment, along with Enguerrand Quarton, was responsible for introducing Flemish naturalism into French art. Froment is known for his often subdued color, awkward designs, and rough style. His "Lamentation" clearly uses Flemish models, such as the sparse rural background and the depiction of clothing with typically Flemish, sharp drapery folds.
Froment paints an emaciated Christ who contrasts with the stocky figures gathered closely together in two separate groups. The Virgin Mary kneels over to hold the body of her dead son while Mary Magdalene grieves at Jesus' feet; a bearded male figure, either Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus, stands solemnly in the background looking down at the lifeless body. All figures are restrained yet emotional about the death of Christ. Froment tried to show the drama of real suffering: the painting was meant to make its owner imagine what it would feel like if he or she were there. He wanted the owner to privately contemplate the pain of Christ's death and sacrifice and recreate the religious event in his mind.
This form of meditational experience had been promoted by the religious movement called "devotio moderna", which arose during the late Middle Ages and lasted into the Renaissance. Gerhard Groote founded this "modern devotion," which rapidly spread throughout Europe. Devotio moderna combined humanism and Christianity and pushed believers to pursue a personal relationship with Christ through private devotion and the reading of scripture. A movement like this had not been seen before, since all worship traditionally had been performed publicly and collectively in a church. It was popular with the working classes since they would rarely have ever seen a Bible: when the printing press was developed around 1440, those who practiced devotio moderna were able to bring small prints or pieces of scripture home for private use. The movement, which taught that outward observances of religion should be minimized while private thoughts and the inward love of God amplified, would go on to affect many religious leaders including Erasmus and Martin Luther.
Lauren Nuzzolo, in "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, 15.
|Dimensions||H-26 W-21 inches|
|Year Range from||1460.0|
|Year Range to||1484.0|
15th century AD
|Exhibition and Publication History||
*"Frances Godwin, The World as a Symbol, Exhibition of Medieval Art," Paul Klapper Library, April 15- May 22, 1959, #99.
*Queens College Art Collection" 1960, #232
*J. Schaefer. Les primitif francais, Paris, 1949. illustration in color on cover and p. 27
*Panthian Magazine, April-June 1981, p. 129, 133.
*"Discover! Selections from the G-TM, Queens College" Citibank, L.I.C., October 15-December 7, 1990.
*"Art From the Queens College Collection" Queens City Art and Cultural Center, 1971, #3.
*"A Selection from the Queens College Art Collection" Klapper, 1979, #21.
*"Mary at the 3rd Millennium" Hillwood Art Museum, 2000.
*"Director's Choice, Part I" A. Winter, Curator. G-TM, April 17-June 1, 2002.
* "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," Curated by James M. Saslow, G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, # 15, ill.