Life of Jesus Christ: famous paintings of the Crowning with Thorns, Scourging and Way of the Cross

Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns

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Icon of Jesus Christ

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Modern images of Jesus and Mary: Mary in 'The Passion of the Christ'

Modern images
of Jesus and Mary

Mary and the angel Gabriel

Annunciation

Birth of Jesus

Finding the Saviour in the Temple, William Hunt, detail

Jesus' family

Photograph by Michael Belk

Jesus and children

Mary Magdalene sculpture

Mary Magdalene

Christ in the house of Martha and Mary, by Velázquez

Martha & Mary

Mary of Nazareth

Mary of Nazareth

Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, Flandrin

Entry to Jerusalem

Jesus and the money changers

Jesus & the money-changers

Painting, Last Supper, Joos van Cleve

The Last Supper

Agony in the Garden, Heinrich, Gethsemane

Agony in the Garden

Spanish wood carving, The Kiss of Judas

Betrayal by Judas

Ecce Homo, by Quintin Massys

Jesus before Pilate

Crucifixion, Francis Bacon

Crucifixion

Jesus taken down from the cross, painting detail

Descent from the cross

Burial of Jesus

Painting of the resurrected Christ

Resurrection

Fra Angelico, angel from painting of the Annunciation

Angels



 


 


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Christ as the Man of Sorrows, Pedro de Mena

Scourging of Christ

Jesus falls under the weight of the cross, Passion of the Christ

Way of the Cross

Nail piercing feet of a crucified man

Crucifixion : what archaeology shows

Reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus

Jerusalem
at the time of Jesus

The route to Calvary 

Route to Calvary

Aerial view of Jerusalem showing the site of the Temple

Maps of 
Jerusalem & Galilee
 

Crucifixion, by the Russian painter Nicolai Ge

The Death of Jesus

Model of the inner courts of the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus

Buildings Jesus knew

Herod, Pilate, Judas

Jesus, as visualized in the movie 'Passion of the Christ'

Famous Bible movies

 

 

Scourging was both a punishment in itself and a preliminary to crucifixion. The beating Jesus endured seems to have been unusually severe, and probably contributed to his physical collapse on the way to Golgotha - he needed help from Simon of Cyrene. He also died more quickly than usual - crucified men often lived on in agony for several days.


Christ Carrying the Cross, El Greco

Christ Carrying the Cross, El Greco

 


 

The Crown of Thorns, Cranach

The Crown of Thorns, Cranach

 


Christ as the Man of Sorrows, Pedro de Mena, 1673

Christ as the Man of Sorrows, Pedro de Mena, 1673

 


Lamb of God (Agnus Dei), Francisco de Zurbarans

Lamb of God (Agnus Dei), Francisco de Zurbarans

 


The Crowning with Thorns, Caravaggio

The Crowning with Thorns, Caravaggio

 


The Flagellation, Caravaggio

The Flagellation, Caravaggio

 


The Flagellation of Christ, Caravaggio

The Flagellation of Christ, Caravaggio

 


The Scourging of Christ, Titian

The Scourging of Christ, Titian

 


The Flagellation of Christ, Peter Paul Rubens

The Flagellation of Christ, Peter Paul Rubens

 


Christ Crowned with Thorns, Hans Holbein the Elder

Christ Crowned with Thorns, Hans Holbein the Elder

 


The Whipping of Jesus, Matthias Grunewald

The Whipping of Jesus, Matthias Grunewald

 


 

The Flagellation, Nicholas Grassi, 1720

The Flagellation, Nicholas Grassi, 1720

 


Scourging of Christ, Seville Cathedral, wood carving

Scourging of Christ, Seville Cathedral, wood carving

 

 


Christ as the Man of Sorrows, Pedro de Mena, 1673

Christ as the Man of Sorrows, Pedro de Mena, 1673

 


Christ Carrying the Cross, Hieronymus Bosch

Christ Carrying the Cross, Hieronymus Bosch

 


Christ Carries his Cross, Hieronymous Bosch, 1515

Christ Carries his Cross, Hieronymous Bosch, 1515

 


Jesus Bearing his Cross, James Tissot

Jesus Bearing his Cross, James Tissot

 


Jesus Falls, James Tissot

Jesus Falls, James Tissot


The Raising of the Cross, Peter Paul Rubens

The Raising of the Cross, Peter Paul Rubens

 


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  Hidden meanings   in paintings of Christ's Passion
  • According to Mark the soldiers took Jesus inside the courtyard of Pilate's house. They dressed him in purple (Matthew says a scarlet mantle), and plaited a crown of thorns to place on his head. Then they saluted him with "Hail, King of the Jews!" They beat him about the head with a cane and spat upon him, then knelt and paid mock homage to him.

  • Christ is usually shown seated on a dais, the crown of thorns on his head, dressed in a red or purple robe and holding a reed sceptre. Soldiers are about to strike him, or kneel in mock homage. 

  • A popular convention in Italian painting of the 15th and 16th centuries shows two soldiers each holding a cane or a staff with which they press down the crown of thorns, the canes forming the shape of a cross.

  • Southern artists depicted the crown of thorns as made from smaller-thorned plants, in contrast to the horrifyingly large spines painted by German and Netherlandish painters. 

  • The theme became widespread from the 1300's, possibly because the 'true' crown of thorns was displayed as a relic at about this time.

  • In paintings of the Scourging/Flagellation, Christ was usually shown bound to a column, in the colonnade that formed part of Pilate's praetorium or judgement hall. 

  • Artists had to show Jesus receiving the strokes on his back, but at the same time make his face visible. Early Renaissance painting overcame this problem by having him stand full face, bound by the wrists to a very narrow column so that his figure was not obscured. Otherwise he stands in front of the column, hands bound behind his back, and receives the strokes on the front of his body. 

  • There are usually two or three soldiers whipping Jesus. They use birches or thong whips. One sits nearby tying a fresh bundle. Pilate may be present, enthroned on the seat of judgement and perhaps wearing a laurel crown, the Roman emblem of his authority.

 

The Bible text - the story of Christ's Passion

Matthew 27:26-31

26 Then he released for them Barab'bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, 29 and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 30 And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.

Mark 15:15-20

15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barab'bas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. 16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the praetorium); and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 19 And they struck his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and they knelt down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

Luke 23:16-22

16 I will therefore chastise him and release him." 17 * [No text] 18 But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas"-- 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus; 21 but they shouted out, "Crucify, crucify him!" 22 A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him."

John 19:1-3

1 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; 3 they came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands.

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Bible Art: Paintings and Artworks from the New Testament:  the Scourging, Crowning with Thorns, and Way of the Cross

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Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Fletcher