Christ Carrying the Cross
Tempera on panel
10 1/4 x 7 7/8 inches
Purchase with funds from the Friends of Art
On View - Stent Family Wing, Second Level, Gallery 201
This small painting is the companion piece to a Crucifixion dated 1494, currently in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is assumed to have been part of a series illustrating the Passion of Christ. The procession of the women of Jerusalem on the left acts as a chorus of lamentation. In the foreground Christ falls under the weight of his cross, while the three figures leading him mock him with threatening gestures. The fact that Christ’s face alone confronts us emphasizes the dreadful loneliness. The fantastic setting, exaggerated expressions of grief, and processional composition all suggest the influence of contemporary representations in the mystery plays, the Passion Week pageants, and the processions marking the Feast of Corpus Christi.