Crowing of Christ with thorns
- Place of origin:
ca. 1600 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case S3
This panel depicts an episode in the Passion of Jesus Christ, the events associated with his Crucifixion.
A devotion associated with the Passion developed very early on in Christian history. Images of it became very graphic by the end of the Middle Ages. Artists emphasized the suffering of Christ in order for the viewer to experience an emotional response.
The scene here portrays the moment when the soldiers of Pontius Pilate, the Roman official who sentenced Christ to death by Crucifixion, fix thorny branches on Christ's head in imitation of a crown. Christ's enemies charged that he had claimed to be 'King of the Jews', and this Crown of Thorns was intended both to humiliate and to injure him.
The Crown of Thorns was venerated in Mount Sion as late as 870. By about 1063 it had been transferred to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). Bits of it had been removed and given as devotional gifts to various rulers. In 1238, Baldwin, the Latin Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, offered what remained to Louis IX of France, who built the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris to house this priceless relic. During the French Revolution, which began in 1789, it was removed for safe-keeping. In 1806 it was installed in the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, where it still remains.
Christ, stripped to the waist, is sat in the left foreground of the panel. His back is to us and he is wearing the Crown of Thorns.
Six other figures, three large and prominent and three squeezed into the sides of the panel, are brandishing sticks with thorns and fastening them into the head of Christ. They are all in various stages of undress.
The whole executed in brown/black pigment only (grisaille).
Place of Origin
ca. 1600 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Height: 24.9 cm framed, Width: 20.4 cm framed, Depth: 3.2 cm framed, Weight: 1.20 kg framed, Height: 21.9 cm sight, Width: 17.3 cm sight
Object history note
Chaffers, from sale at Christie's.
Object depicts crowing of Christ with thorns:
Matthew 27: 27-29
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. An they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had plated a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
Mark 15: 16-17
And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns and put it about his head.
John 19: 2
And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe.
Painted glass panel depicting The Crowning of Christ with Thorns. Made in the Netherlands, ca.1600.
After a design by Maarten van Heemskerck.
Stained Glass; Religion; Christianity