Friday, March 19, 2010

The Crucifixion of Christ

Title: The Crucifixion of Christ

Artist: Carl Bloch

Medium: Etching

Size: 25 x 33 cm

Date: 1881

Location: Hope Gallery, Park City, UT

Just as he suffered alone, Christ is solitarily placed against the ominous sky looming above him. Being the focal point of the piece, his lifeless body brings the eye down to the mournful scene below him with Mary Magdalene, the Virgin Mother, and John the Beloved, all grieving in disbelief. John’s gaze carries the viewer to the three figures on the right approaching with a ladder and linens for Christ’s descension. Having been granted permission to remove Jesus’ body from the cross, this engraving depicts Joseph of Arimathea approaching triumphantly with the help needed to remove the Lord’s body.

Carl Heinrich Bloch (May 23, 1834 – February 22, 1890) was a Danish painter. He was born in Copenhagen and studied with Wilhelm Marstrand at the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi). His early work featured rural scenes from everyday life. From 1859 to 1866, Bloch lived in Italy. After many of Bloch’s paintings that were coming out of Italy were seen by influential patrons back home, he was commissioned to paint 23 new paintings for the King's Praying Chamber in the newly restored Frederiksborg Castle Chapel, in Hillerød, Denmark. Those paintings have become very popular illustrations, so much so that for over 40 years the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made heavy use of the imagery in Bloch's paintings in its church buildings and printed media. Carl Bloch also excelled through his etchings. Sigurd Mueller, a leading Danish art critic, stated "No other Danish artist has given us so many great etchings as Carl Bloch".


  1. I have a framed print that hung in my Great Grandparents house that is an etching like this. It is very similar in style and mood. Did Carl Bloch do others? How can I find out more? My Grandfather thought it may have come from Germany. I have not opened or disturbed the frame, but don't see a signature.

    Laurie McLean

  2. I'm looking at mine more closely. In mine, the figure of Christ is more radiant and very bright. He is very large, in contrast to the shadowy figures who are attending him and they are kind of silhouetted on the right near his feet, and they are very shadowy, with less detail, while he is finely rendered. There are trees on the left, also in shadow and silhouette against a darkening sky. There is a slender rope holding the loin cloth and the nails are square and very finely detailed, as well.