Christ Carrying the Cross (Bosch, Ghent)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Christ Carrying the Cross

Christ Carrying the Cross is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. It was painted in the early 16th century, presumably between 1515 and 1516. The work is housed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium.


The work was bought by the Ghent museum in 1902, and was restored in 1956-1957. As for all Bosch's works, the dating is uncertain, although most art historians assign it to his late career. The catalog of an exhibition held in Rotterdam in 2001 assigned it 1510-1535, attributing the execution to an imitator.

There are two further version of the subject by Bosch: a previous one in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, from around 1500, and another one, from around 1498, now at the Royal Palace of Madrid.


The work depicts Jesus carrying the cross above a dark background, surrounded by numerous heads, most of which characterized with grotesque faces. There are a total of eighteen portraits, plus one on Veronica's veil. Jesus has a woeful expression, his closed eyes and the head reclinate.

In the bottom right corner is the impenitent thief, who sneers against three men who are mocking him. The penitent thief is at top right: he is portrayed with a very pale skin, while being confessed by a horribly ugly monk.

The bottom left corner houses Veronica with the holy shroud, her eyes half-open and the face looking back. Finally, at the top left is Simon of Cyrene, his face upside upturned.

See also

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