The death of Jesus, Duc de Berry paintings
Home Page for Life of Jesus Christ

Find out more

Death of Jesus, Archbishop Gero, Cologne

Death of Jesus

Crucifixion, by Matthias Grunewald, detail of crucified feet

Paintings: Crucifixion

The route to Calvary 

Road to Calvary

Aerial view of Jerusalem showing the site of the Temple

Maps of 
Jerusalem & Galilee

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

Mary of Nazareth, as portrayed in the movie 'Passion of the Christ'

Mary mother of Jesus

Nail piercing feet of a crucified man

Crucifixion : what archaeology shows

Reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus

at the time of Jesus




            Jesus dies on the cross

Death of Christ on the cross, Book of Hours, Duc de Berry

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus . . . when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost . . . and the earth quaked, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose . . . Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27: 45-54).

This awesome event, described only by Matthew, is the artist's second subject for None. According to Luke's gospel (23:45) the sun was darkened, and the scene is bathed in an unearthly blue-gray light, such as falls on the earth during an eclipse (a nearly total one was visible in northern France in 1406 at about the time this painting was done).

Into the gloom strikes a shaft of supernatural light. Rocks have been split and three of the dead emerge through cracks in the earth, raising their hands in supplication.

An armed guard at the foot of the cross, still grasping his spear, falls back against his terrified comrades.

The kneeling centurion and a group of spectators look up in amazement toward the source of the yellow and red light that passes behind the repentent thief and comes near the side of the crucified Savior.

No earlier painting had offered so impressive a depiction of darkness at noon. The artist did this by developing the common mode of grisaille (painting in tones of a single colour, especially grey). He laid his blue-gray strokes over a lighter ground, producing a kind of shimmer. This ground is warmer and lighter in the flesh areas, and brick-red in the falling guard. The same red lies in the shadows of the mantle of the kneeling centurion. The artist here proves to be a subtle and resourceful painter.


Death of Jesus on the cross, whole page from Book of Hours, Duc de Berry


Click on the image at right to see an enlargement of the whole page as it appears in the Duc de Berry's Book of Hours





And a Good Friday was had by all 
by Bruce Dawe

You men there, keep those women back
and God Almighty he laid down
on the crossed timber and old Silenus
my off-sider looked at me as if to say
nice work for soldiers, your mind's not your own
once you sign that dotted line Ave Caesar
and all that malarkey Imperator Rex

Well this Nazarene
didn't make it any easier
really - not like the ones
who kick up a fuss so you can
do your block and take it out on them

Silenus held the spikes steady and I let fly
with the sledge-hammer, not looking
on the downswing trying hard not to hear
over the women's wailing the bones give way
the iron shocking the dumb wood.

Orders is orders, I said after it was over
nothing personal you understand - we had a
drill-sergeant once thought he was God but he wasn't
a patch on you

then we hauled on the ropes
and he rose in the hot air
like a diver just leaving the springboard, arms spread
so it seemed
over the whole damned creation
over the big men who must have had it in for him
and the curious ones who'll watch anything if it's free
with only the usual women caring anywhere
and a blind man in tears.

Tintoretto, Crucifixion, Scuola di San Rocco



Custom Search



Bible Study Guide: Paintings of the death of Christ on the cross, Les Belles Heures, Duc du Barry

 Home Page for Life of Christ                Questions about using this page               About the Author

Copyright 2015 Elizabeth Fletcher