Four Versions of the Christus by the Massys: Deciphering the Meaning of the Letters
The Flemish painters Quentin Massys and his son Jan Massys appear to be the authors of
four works with a very similar motif, the bust of Jesus Christ. These canvasses can be found in different locations today: the Prado Museum in Madrid (Spain), the RKD Netherlands Institute for Art History of The Hague (Netherlands), the Kunstmuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), and another one in a private collection. Written on the edge of the robe around the neck, these canvasses display a series of Hebrew or pseudo-Hebrew letters. We offer the complete solution deciphered, until today incomplete, for three of them, with a very similar letter sequence. Finally, we resolve completely one of the canvasses, which, until today, had no known solution.