Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Mocking of Christ

Title: The Mocking of Christ

Artist: Annibale Carracci

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Size: 60 x 79 cm

Date: c. 1596

Location: Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu, Romania.

Mark 15:16-19 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.

The mocking of Jesus contains many ironic elements, such as being crowned with thorns, which we deserved, as opposed to the crown of glory which he merited, and submitting to the contempt of sinners though he did no sin. Carracci’s painting brilliantly shows the love and forgiveness on Jesus’ face, reaching out as though to bless one of his tormentors even as the tormentor seems to relish in the suffering inflicted on Christ.

Annibale Carracci (November 3, 1560 – July 15, 1609) was an Italian Baroque painter who, along with his brother Agostino (1557 - 1602) and their cousin Lodovico (1555 - 1619), were prominent figures at the end of the 16th century in the movement against the prevailing Mannerist artificiality of Italian painting. They continued working in close relationship until 1595, when Annibale, who was by far the greatest artist of the family, was called to Rome by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese to carry out his masterpiece, the decoration of the Farnese Gallery in the cardinal's family palace. In his last years Annibale was overcome by melancholia and gave up painting almost entirely after 1606. When he died he was buried accordingly to his wished near Raphael in the Pantheon.

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