Christ seated on a step, wearing a long robe and crown of thorns, leaning toward his PR; soldier in armor at left pushes Christ's head down; bearded man with shaggy hair at right pokes at Christ with a short stick

Christ Crowned with Thorns, 1606

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The Richard Lewis Hillstrom Fundexpand_more  2012.93.2

Annibale made this brutal depiction of Christ crowned with thorns shortly after suffering a catastrophic mental breakdown, from which he never fully recovered. No longer able to cope with large-scale painting commissions, he devoted himself almost exclusively to drawings and prints. In this period, his works are affecting and intimate—seemingly expressing the depths of his despair. Here, Jesus is shown in a state of anguish. Annibale’s use of insistent parallel lines for the background creates an inescapable, claustrophobic space, while squiggling lines on his tormentor’s forearms add nervous energy to the brutality that Jesus calmly endures.

Details
Title
Christ Crowned with Thorns
Artist Life
Italian (Bologna), 1560-1609
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2012.93.2
Provenance
Luciana Simonetti, Lugt 3616, Rome (until d. 2003); European art market; [James Bergquist, Newton Centre, Mass., 2012; sold to MIA]
Catalogue Raisonne
DeGrazia Bohlin 21.I (Annibale); Bartsch XVIII.182.3, i/ii; Posner 174
Curator Approved

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Christ seated on a step, wearing a long robe and crown of thorns, leaning toward his PR; soldier in armor at left pushes Christ's head down; bearded man with shaggy hair at right pokes at Christ with a short stick