Christ Carrying the Cross (1485-1490) by Hieronymous Bosch

Christ Carrying the Cross - Hieronymous Bosch - 1485 - 1490

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Artwork Information

TitleChrist Carrying the Cross
ArtistHieronymous Bosch
Date1485 - 1490
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions57.2 x 32 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

About Christ Carrying the Cross

“Christ Carrying the Cross” is a notable oil on panel artwork by Hieronymous Bosch, dating from the period between 1485 and 1490. This piece is anchored in the Northern Renaissance art movement and is a religious painting that measures 57.2 x 32 cm. Currently, it is housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum located in Vienna, Austria.

The artwork vividly depicts the biblical episode of Christ carrying the cross to his crucifixion, which is a central narrative in Christian theology. In the densely packed scene, Christ is situated at the center, burdened by the heavy wooden cross. His head is bowed in a solemn or exhausted demeanor, and his body is cloaked in a richly hued blue robe, signifying his divine royalty and suffering. Surrounding Christ are numerous figures, representing a mixture of tormentors, onlookers, and followers. The figures are closely set and feature a variety of expressions, from cruelty and mockery to sympathy and sorrow. Intricate details, such as the individualized features of the faces and the vibrant colors of the clothing, enhance the dramatic intensity of the scene.

Bosch’s masterful use of color and meticulous brushwork create a chaotic yet captivating tableau that draws the viewer into the pathos of the scene. The convergence of so many figures around Christ serves to emphasize not only his physical struggle but also the emotional torment he endures. The painting’s fine details and rich symbolism are hallmarks of Bosch’s work and exemplify the innovative spirit of the Northern Renaissance in which the painting was created.

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