The Passion of Christ

The Crown of Thorns and the mockery of Christ

These events take place between the scourging of Christ and the journey to Calvary. They are described in three of the gospels.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. (Matthew 27 v 31)

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,  And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.  (Mark 15 16 20)

And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,  And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!  (John 19  2 5)

On to some images.
As we've seen before, it's difficult to improve on Duccio for attention to detail. He retells the story as Matthew told it - Christ, dressed in red, holds the reed in his hand.

Duccio: from the Maesta. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena


The white robe of Christ, apparently about to be removed, suggests this takes place before the robing in kingly red or purple. 

Hieronymus Bosch: National Gallery, London


Titian: Louvre, Paris

Caravaggio: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

    On to what is, in my view, the most original approach to this theme, painted by an early Renaissance artist. Intrigued? 

Click here for page 2

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