The Piercing of Christ's Side

Simon Beningabout 1525–1530

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

While a crowd gathers in the lower half of the miniature, the bodies of Christ and the two thieves remain silhouetted against a light blue sky in the upper half of the illumination. By isolating the body of Christ against this blue background, Simon Bening emphasized the long lance piercing his side; a text devoted to the lancing directly follows this illumination. At the bottom left, the Virgin swoons with grief, supported by Saint John and two women. John's hand touches the area of Mary's side that corresponds to the lance wound in Christ's side, drawing attention to the pain she shares with her son.


  • Title: The Piercing of Christ's Side
  • Creator: Simon Bening
  • Date Created: about 1525–1530
  • Location Created: Bruges, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 16.8 × 11.4 cm (6 5/8 × 4 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Folio
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 83.ML.115.302v
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig IX 19, fol. 302v
  • Creator Display Name: Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

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