Bearing of the Cross with St. Veronica (detail) (c.1510) by Lucas van Leyden

Bearing of the Cross with St. Veronica (detail) - Lucas van Leyden - c.1510

Artwork Information

TitleBearing of the Cross with St. Veronica (detail)
ArtistLucas van Leyden
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationNational Museum, Warsaw, Poland

About Bearing of the Cross with St. Veronica (detail)

The artwork “Bearing of the Cross with St. Veronica (detail)” is a distinguished piece by Lucas van Leyden, dating circa 1510. This oil painting, which belongs to the Northern Renaissance art movement, explores a religious theme. The piece is held in the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland, where it contributes to the collection’s display of historical religious narratives through art.

This particular detail from the painting captures a moment steeped in Christian iconography. The central figure appears to be struggling under the weight of a large wooden cross, which is consistent with the portrayal of Jesus Christ on his way to crucifixion. The man is shown in profile, his expression fraught with exhaustion and resignation. His face is depicted with realism, accentuating the human agony of the moment.

He is adorned with an elaborate halo consisting of multiple golden sun-rays, which radiates from behind his head, denoting his sanctity. Such halos are emblematic of the divine light or aura that surrounds holy figures in religious art and serves as an identifier of his sacred status.

Adjacent to him, we see another figure, likely a soldier given the detailed and ornate armor he is wearing, which is indicative of the high level of craftsmanship prevalent during the Northern Renaissance period. The metalwork is rendered with meticulous attention to texture and reflection, demonstrating the artist’s skilled use of oil paint to emulate different materials.

The intensity of the scene is further amplified by the presence of a bystander in the background, whose face shows a grimace that could reflect concern, sorrow, or agitation over the events unfolding. The dynamic interplay of expressions and the careful depiction of textured fabrics and reflective surfaces such as metals contribute to the dramatic and emotive quality of this artwork.

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