Hi everyone! In addition to the Last Supper post, I thought it would be fun for me to create another post! This post will deal with paintings of the Passion of Christ. I found a handful of artworks that deal with the Passion of Christ, starting from Christ’s imprisonment to the Lamentation of Christ.
The first painting is called the Crowning with Thorns created by Orazio Gentileschi in 1610 to 1615.
This painting demonstrates the brutally of the soldiers in prison when they placed the crown of thorns on Christ’s head. Here, we can see how Christ is being mistreated by the guards, who are holding onto this head and arms. It looks as though one of the guards is showing Christ that since he believes himself to be King, he can wear this crown of thorns. We can see the pain that is depicted in Christ’s body and facial expression.
The second painting is called the Mocking of Christ created by Carl Heinrich Bloch in 1880.
In addition to Christ being forced to wear a crown of thorns that was impaled into his head, Christ was also harassed and abused by these soldiers all night before his presentation to Pontius Pilate. Here, we can see Bloch representing a soldier who in the middle of insulting Christ. However, even though Christ is being mocked, he looks out at us, the viewers, with an expression of love. He is bearing all this pain for us, and this is what Bloch is showing us through Christ’s eyes.
An example of an Ecce Homo painting is one created by Lodovico Cigoli in 1607.
This painting of Ecce Homo shows Christ being held by two men on his sides. Here, viewers can see the agony and pain that comes over Christ’s face, as he knows he will be whipped and have to carry the cross soon. On the parapet in front of the figures, the whip, which Christ will be hit with forty times, is present. Christ is in chains as he is, most likely, being presented to a crowd of people. It is possible that Cigoli made us a part of the crowd who chanted that Christ should be killed rather than Barabbas, a murderer and thief (since one prisoner was released for Passover).
In addition to this, Raphael created a painting of Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary in 1516.
Raphael creates this painting of Christ on the way to Calvary, and he depicts Christ in the moment that he has fallen. Christ is carrying the Cross with his right hand and his left hand is resting on a rock. Christ sees his mother, who is reaching out to him at this time, as he is struggling to keep himself up. This gesture of reaching out makes reference to when Mary would hold Christ as a child; this demonstrates how in this time of agony, Mary only wants to comfort and hold her son. Christ is about to be pulled by the soldier in front of him, who has tied a rope around Christ’s waist. St. Simon is helping Christ carrying the Cross, since Christ is struggling so much.
The next painting is also of Jesus Carrying the Cross, and it was created in 1516 by Sebastiano del Piombo.
This painting is also of Christ carrying the Cross. Here, we can see that Christ is struggling to hold up the weight of the Cross. His back is hunched over, and his face shows him struggling. Christ’s eyes are barely open as he tries to use all his energy to carry the Cross. We can see a guard in the back, and the figure in green is Simon of Cyrene, who was told by the Roman soldiers to help Christ carry the Cross.
The next artwork is a sculpture created by a German artist in the 19th century called Simon of Cyrene Carries the Cross.
This sculpture also shows Simon helping Christ carry the cross. One can see the impatience of the Roman soldiers as they are rushing Christ and Simon to pick up the cross and continue walking. We see Christ struggling so much to carry the Cross that he is about to fall again; he carries the cross on his back and with his arm in an uncomfortable position. Simon has a hunched back as he strives to hold onto this cross.
Another artwork is El Greco’s The Veil of Saint Veronica created in 1586 to 1595.
El Greco’s painting does not show when Christ fall again and St. Veronica wiped his face; instead, it shows the clothe that Veronica wiped Christ’s face with. After Veronica helped Christ wipe his face, Christ’s face was imprinted on the clothe with his blood and sweat. This today is known as the Shroud of Turin.
Vincenzo Campi’s Christ Nailed to the Cross created in 1577 is another painting that depicts the Passion of Christ.
Here, Campi shows the brutality of Christ being nailed to the Cross. Two soldiers seem to be holding onto Christ and one nails down Christ’s hand. By the pained expression, the moving of his legs, and the emphasize of Christ’s muscle, one can see the torment that Christ feels. In the middle ground, Campi includes the Virgin Mary, who can barely keep herself up as this is happening to her son (for this is one of Mary’s sorrows — she shares pain with Christ during this time). St John seems to be holding her up with the Marys who are with him. This painting is consumed with people and is chaotic. This chaos creates a sense of panic and uneasiness in this already painful painting.
Another artwork on the Passion of Christ is Anthony Van Dyck’s Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary, St John and St Mary Magdalene created in 1619.
Here, Van Dyck created a painting of Christ on the Cross surrounded by Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John the Evangelist. Christ is dead on the Cross, with the pierce skin near his rib that blood is coming out of (and water was also present as well). Christ’s body is swayed to his right, as his body is struggling to hold itself up. Mary Magdalene is at the feet of Christ, and she is embracing them. Mary is on Christ’s right, and she is looking at her son. St. John is on Christ’s left, and he is looking at Christ with his hand on his chest. The skies behind Christ are dark blue, signifying that “the earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Matthew 28: 51-52), and Van Dyck includes a lunar eclipse here as well.
Lastly, the final artwork is Sandro Botticelli’s Pieta created between 1490 and 1495.
Botticelli’s painting shows the Pieta, one of the most intense scenes, along with the crucifixion, from the Passion of Christ. Here, Mary is holding onto her dead son before he is placed in his tomb. Mary can barely look or hold onto Christ as she is in so much pain. The Apostles and Marys hold onto Christ as well, and everyone is saddened by Christ’s death. St. Luke continues to hold onto Mary, in the same nurturing way that Mary holds onto Christ; this reminds me of when Christ was on the Cross and Christ said to John, “Behold, your mother” (John 20:27) signifying to him and us that Mary is a motherly figure to us all.