The carrying of the cross

Hieronymus Bosch • Painting, XV century, 57.2×32 cm
Digital copy: 1.6 MB
1909 × 3508 px • JPEG
28 × 50 cm • 173 dpi
32.3 × 59.4 cm • 150 dpi
16.2 × 29.7 cm • 300 dpi
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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: XV century
Size: 57.2×32 cm
Artwork in selections: 26 selections
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Description of the artwork «The carrying of the cross»

Of the three "Neseni cross" belonging to or attributed to the brush of Hieronymus Bosch (the other two are stored in Ghentand in Madrid), Vienna is considered to be the earliest. The Museum of art history (Vienna) dates the picture. 1480-1490, and the modern tree-ring studies reveal that a date about 1500, the year. In any case, the work is quite traditional in composition and devoid of fantasmagorichnost, which allows us to attribute it to the early period of creativity of Bosch.

Elongated vertical form boards leaves little doubt that "Christ carrying the cross" was created as a wing of an altar triptych, now lost. It is assumed that the Central piece could be "the Crucifixion", and right-wing – "the Ascension".

The song "carrying the cross" is based on a frieze principle and consists of two parallel, horizontally moving rows of figures. In the upper part of the dense crowd of warriors, torturers and the onlookers spiteful blows of Christ carrying the cross to Calvary. The characters of this crowd, their clothes and especially hats carefully drawn, and varied in color and form that only reinforces the sense of diversity, the hustle and bustle. Such a variety of costumes and individuals (individualized, although a bit of a caricature) suggests the commitment of Bosch to show that the peoples of the earth are very diverse, but equally flawed.

A motley crowd opposed to Christ in dark blue robes. Bosch finds an unusual scenographic solution, separating Jesus from his tormentors with the help of the cross. Researchers have noted the cinematography of this method: it allows the artist to isolate Christ from the crowd, like "focusing the camera" at his pained and submissive profile. It has a symbolic meaning: the cross is what separates the sinless Savior from a sinful world. The cross in the picture is T-shaped: according to some ancient texts that cross (in the form of the Greek letter T, "Tau") was the crucified Christ. On His legs you can see small blocks of wood with nails – obviously, one of the instruments of torment.

The crowd carries sticks, spears and the stairs. Standing in front of Christ the man in the pink swings on his whip, and the character in white on the shield depicts a toad, a symbol of death. The man in red behind the Christ – Simon Cyrenean. The gospel tells us that the torturers of Christ, aglamesis over Him and hoisted Him on his head a crown of thorns, they led Him to death. By the way, they met a certain Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, coming from fields, who was forced to carry the cross with Christ. The artist offers here his interpretation of events: Simon in the picture is not helping Christ and only slightly touches cross arm.

The bottom row of characters is composed of two groups. In the right kind of thief (from the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus goes by the name of Dismas) repented and confessed leaning over him, the priest. The group includes from left soldier in metal armor, a man in a red coat and the second robber, bound and ragged. In character, the face and figure of which remains beyond the Board, looking directly at the viewer from behind the soldier in armor, many experts believe that the "cameo" Bosch. The artist finds himself in the position of witness of the unfolding events, which will determine the course of European history, at least for the next 2 Millennium.

Unusual image found on the back of the Board. There is a black circle on a red background, written by Nude small child with a Walker and a turntable. Consensus about the significance of this image is not. Perhaps it is Jesus himself in infancy, or a symbol of childhood in the time of innocence, the opposite of sinful "maturity" of mankind, depicted on the front side. Interesting theory that the baby is a revered Christian Saint Ignatius of Antioch (Antioch). Legend calls it the kid in the gospel of Matthew puts before the apostles, explaining: "Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven" (Matt.18:3).

Author: Anna Yesterday