Petrus Christus, 1410-1475/76, Flemish
Death of the Virgin, ca. 1460-65
Oil on oak panel, transferred to mahogany, 73.7 x 102.9 cm
(67-3/8 x 54-1/2 in.)
Petrus Christus is credited with introducing one-point perspective to Northern European painting. He employs the technique in this painting, his largest known work, which originally included two wings, later destroyed during World War II. Christus' interpretation of the Death of the Virgin, attended by the apostles, is unusual because it shows in one painting the three episodes of the story. The Virgin lies on her deathbed holding a lighted candle, a symbol of her faith. Above, her soul ascends to God the Father. On the far right, an angel drops the Virgin's girdle to Saint Thomas as proof of her Assumption, body and soul, into heaven.
Sciacca, Sicily, 16th century
Gaetano Consiglio, Sciacca, until 1856
Marianna Consiglio, until 1865
Giuseppe Santacanale Denti, Palermo, by 1865 
Villa Santa Canale, Bagheria, Sicily
Sold, Knoedler & Co., New York, 1938 
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1951
 The provenance of the Timken painting leads back to Sicily. Although the painting was traditionally thought to have been in the Santacanale family of Palermo from the fifteenth century up until the time it was sold to Knoedler and Company in 1938, Vincenzo Scuderi (“La collocazione originaria della Morte della Vergine attribuita a Petrus Christus, gia della collezione Santacanale a Palermio e ora a S. Diego di California,” in Antonello da Messina, Atti del convegno di studi tenuto a Messina, November 29–December 2, 1981 (Messina, 1981), pp. 101–10) has discovered that it belonged previously to the Consiglio family of Sciacca, a town on the south side of Sicily.
 As of October 3, 2000, this item has not been registered as stolen or missing on the Art Loss Register database. It is also not listed in the published source of World War II losses known to the Art Loss Register.