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The crowning with thorns

Painting, 1510, 73.8×59 cm

Description of the artwork «The crowning with thorns»

In the late period of creativity of Hieronymus Bosch are increasingly drawn to the subject of Passion – last days and the cross of Jesus Christ. These are "carrying the cross" (there are three options – in Ghent, Belgium, Madridand Vienna) and "The crowning with thorns". The painting of Hieronymus Bosch, represented in the London national gallery, and another with a similar name and plot but different in its composition , is in Spain, in the monastery of San Lorenzo is part of the complex of El Escorial (gently referred to as the product of the workshop of Hieronymus Bosch).

On a dark gray background, devoid of even a hint of depth, with almost geometric simplicity composed of five figures: Christ, dressed in white robes, and four of his tormentors. One tears the clothes of the Savior, the second with a sort of smirk touches his hand, the third in the iron gloves of a Roman soldier, bestows upon the head of Christ the crown of thorns, and the fourth is outstanding.

In the time of Christ a symbol of Royal power in the Roman Empire (played by Judah the role of the metropolis) was a Laurel wreath. A wreath of thorns was his antithesis, a mocking parody. That is why the Roman soldier hoisting a crown of thorns on the head of someone who believed in It were called King of the Jews. So the Roman shows, which, from his point of view, this "king."

Examples of the torturers of Christ Bosch is trying to understand human nature. And his conclusion is disappointing: the man is indifferent and cruel, selfish and wicked, he seeks and craves humiliation of another bloody spectacle.

But the images of those around the picture of Christ, not equivalent. They are extremely specific physiologically and psychologically differentiated: on the face of the Pharisee in the lower left corner is written sadistic excitement, a Roman soldier in a green turban emits a dull severity, of man in fur hat, decorated with oak leaves, shows a semblance of compassion. Symbols of oak leaves and the function of the gun in the hand of this character is unclear, but the features of his face resemble the supposed self-portraits of Bosch – for example, in the image Traveler with external shutters of the triptych "the hay"or "melancholy monster" from "the Garden of earthly delights". Perhaps in this way the artist illustrates the idea that any person (and the Bosch is no exception), because of its sinful nature, is a tormentor of Christ, and one of those for whom Jesus is sent to cross pain.

A mystery to interpreters Bosch is a collar with spikes. In a time when the artist lived like they put on dogs to protect them from the wolves. There in the works of Bosch dog with spiky wrap on the neck – it is depicted on the outer wings of the triptych "the hay." But why the dog's attribute given to man, but still has a alleged portrait features Bosch? There is no single answer, but there remains a vast field for interpretation.

It is noteworthy that the version that the example of the torturers of Christ Bosch manages to portray the four basic temperament. The theory of the four types developed in antiquity, so historically, this assumption is fairly reasonable. Two at the top are representatives of the choleric and the melancholic temperament, and two at the bottom, respectively, of the sanguine and the choleric. Christ, unlike those around him, shows no signs of temperament. He remains impassive and seemed not to notice his executioners, letting humble opinion somewhere outside of the painting.

Interesting poetics and geometry of the "Crowning with thorns", built on the symbolism of the number "four." In the natural-scientific picture of the world "four" is a major strong point: the four cardinal directions (North, South, West, East), four elements (water, earth, fire, air), four seasons. The geometric equivalent of the number four – square, the sacred equivalent of the cross. In mystical terms the "four" means omnipotence, universality, the power over space and time. It's no coincidence that often the number "four" is found in the Bible: 4 rivers in Paradise, 4 greatest prophet of the old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel), 4 symbolic animals carry the ark of the Covenant in the vision of Ezekiel, the Gospels – the same four. That is why "four" in the painting of Hieronymus Bosch, may mean "all": all without exception are guilty of the death of the Savior on the cross, and, nevertheless, all have a chance at forgiveness and salvation.

Some experts put the authorship of the picture into question.

It is known that in the nineteenth century, "the Crowning with thorns" belonged to Hollingworth Maniaco (Hollingworth Magniac), a large British merchant and owner of a large collection of medieval art. In 1868, the painting passed to his heir Charles, and after his death in 1892 year, was bought at Christie's by Robert Crawshaw (Robert Crawshay) and moved to Italy. In 1932, the painting was acquired by the National gallery (London).

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Northern Renaissance

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1510

Size: 73.8×59 cm

Artwork in selections: 20 selections

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