This large painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger shows a procession of people with Christ carrying the cross in the centre. The procession is on its way to the hill of Golgotha, where the crucifixion is to take place. The dark skies above the hill emphasise the dark nature of the event (Luke 23: 44-49). Veronica with the vernicle and the helpful Simon of Cyrene are depicted close to Christ. Grieving by the tree on the right are his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene, who is identified by her ointment jar. The two thieves are being taken up the hill on a cart. What is striking about this landscape panorama is the view of a late mediaeval Flemish city, with the only reference to biblical times being a large round building, intended to represent the temple of Jerusalem.

Brueghel the Younger has followed the custom of situating a biblical story in a contemporary setting. There is a remarkable inconsistency in the stone cross just above Christ, which forms a monumental reference to an event that – in view of the scene in the foreground – has not actually begun yet.


  • Title: Carrying of the Cross
  • Creator: Workshop of Pieter Brueghel the Younger
  • Date: around 1605
  • Physical Dimensions: 151 x 200 x 11 cm
  • Provenance: Loan Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. © Peter Cox/Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht
  • Medium: oil on panel

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