A CROSS TO BEAR

This gallery includes paintings by various artists that represent the crucifixion of Christ in Christianity.

-Tammi Ahmed

This painting depicts the crucifixion of Christ with such fragility and humanistic expression that Christ becomes just a man nailed to a cross. Yet, the crown of thorns, the bright golden halo around his head and the inscription “INRI” signify that he isn’t just a man of importance,but a man of religious importance. Also, the intricate design behind him, bright colors and how the observers look upon him in reverence not only allude to his stature, but also add elegance to an otherwise harsh expression of suffering and death. The repetition of cross like patterns in the design on the wall behind him and his frail skin that is painted with such delicacy it almost becomes transparent are a representation of suffering and death. The three figures on the left that have golden haloes around their heads and the white scroll to the right also imply that this was a very significant event and the importance of documenting it. The open wound, jutting bones, drooping head, and the way his eyes are angled downward enhance the visual effect of his torture and suffering, while also emulating the pose of his mother below him in blue. She grieves her son and is so overwhelmed and taken by her emotions that she appears to be leaning on another figure for support.
This painting depicts a moment during the crucifixion where Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’ most devoted followers and a woman of importance in Christianity, mourned his death. Here, it is the position of the figures and the angle at which it is painted that makes it appear more intimate and makes the observer feel like an intruder. As if we are interrupting a private moment between two lovers. This is enhanced by the way her right arm intertwines around the cross and how her fingertips brush his calves. Additionally, her left hand rests delicately on his feet while her fingertips entwined with her hair and his blood caress his feet and rest lightly on the nail that impales them to the cross. It not only implies adoration, her position on her knees symbolizes devotion as well. This combined with how his pose mimics hers portrays unity. There’s a delicacy in her soft smile, downward gaze and his peaceful expression that allow the observer to clearly picture his head resting on her shoulder. This combined with the light behind him and that seems to radiate around her signify that these are two important figures. However, her kneeling at his feet and how his muscular frame is painted in such detail allude to his prominent distinction and his strength. Perhaps, it could imply the strength of his character as well.
This is a painting that allows the observer to appreciate and explore the Crucifixion in three separate parts, but together give the piece a whole different experience. In this painting we see Mary Magdalene, a prominent figure in Christianity on the left panel grieving, while the right panel is St. Veronica holding a cloth with a picture of Christ. The centerpiece, which is emphasized in brighter tones and more clarity, depict St. John, Mary, and a couple kneeling in prayer off to the side below Christ. Christ is depicted with such frailty but is the focus of the entire piece itself, which is apparent in their position at the bottom of the painting as well as St. John’s expression of awe in his gaze. A white loincloth, nails in his hands and feet, and oozing blood from his open wounds indicate that this is Christ and represent his recent death, while at the same time give the piece a more dramatic effect. The patterns in pose between the angels and the figures below them suggest that the angels are grieving with them, while also emphasizing the religious reference behind the piece. The repetition of swirling shapes represented in the cloth around Christ’s waist, the robes of the angels, and St. John’s cloak add the illusion of movement and breathe life into this dramatic piece. There is a rhythm of powerful emotion throughout the piece in the solemn posture of St. Veronica, and the painful expression on Mary Magdalene’s face. The most riveting is Mary and how she appears to be overwhelmed with emotion and falling to her knees while grasping the cross. All three pieces appear separate, but the landscape suggests a united connection to Christ and links all three pieces to an important moment. Together they all tell the story of love, loss, and worship.
This painting depicts three prominent figures witnessing the Crucifixion of Christ. His mother Mary stands to the left looking down as if she can’t bear to look at her dead son, while Mary Magdalene kneels below him with her mouth open in horror or shock and John the Evangelist stands off to his right in an open display of grief. Christ himself hangs from the cross in a horrific display of agony and suffering. The crown of thorns that seems to pierce into his skull, the three nails in his hands and feet, and the inscription “INRI” engraved behind him indicate that this is Christ. The portrayal of realism and agony this painting displays with the use of color is powerful. The bluish tint in his lips and skin imply that he is dead, but the gashes that appear on his torso with blood oozing from them suggest that it is recent. These also suggest torture, but it is his open mouth and the anguish in his blank stare that makes this painting a bit too much. Yet, you can’t seem to look away. The appearance of three important historical religious figures, the way his mother’s hands and John the Evangelist’s hands are clasped in prayer, and the position of the figures below him signify his importance. But, so is the kneeling of Mary Magdalene at his feet in a posture of worship and devotion. There is nothing small about this painting or the raw emotions displayed in the expressions of the figures and the use of dark colors to express desperation and the horror of death itself. This is also displayed in the hollowed eyes of John and his pale skin with tears streaming down his face. The tattered cloak of John the Evangelist and tattered loincloth of Christ implies a religious connection as well as the fact that they are both shown in very light colors.
This piece depicts the public display and torture of Christ during his crucifixion. The soldier points to him and the two thieves that were crucified with him in a gesture of pride with an expression of contempt, but his attire alludes to an important figure of higher stature. His followers cringe, as he is being poked and prodded and watch his torment with mixed expressions of sorrow and adoration. The figures on the left illuminated with golden haloes around their heads and the rich clothing of the soldier signifies an important and historical event. The focus is on Christ as he is in the center of the entire piece and appears bigger in proportion to those behind him. The inscription “INRI” on the cross and the spurting blood from the wounds in his hands and feet with protruding nails all emphasize that this is the crucifixion of Christ. His drooping head and closed eyes as one of the spears pierces his rib cage imply that he was tortured to death. The elevation of the five illuminated figures on the bottom left corner dressed in lighter tones indicate that they are prominent figures while the ones on the bottom right appear are portrayed in poor posture and grim clothing. Perhaps this was done to not only show position of stature but as a representation of unity in faith. There is a balance of physical and emotional suffering on both sides of the painting. Christ is being poked on both sides, but at the same time there are those that shy away from his torment or look on with sorrowful facial expressions. However, the use of bright colors and gold add a sense of reverence and elegance to it that compliments the visual effect and draws attention to the religious interpretation of the piece.
This gentle and beautifully heartbreaking painting is a representation of the crucifixion of Christ. The three figures below are Mary Magdalene on the left and St. John on the right supporting Christ’s mother as they all grieve in a subdued manner at his death. The soft gestures of the figures, peaceful expression of Christ and the softness in the texture of the painting itself all add to the quiet strength that saturates this piece of art. The inscription above him on the cross, the crown of thorns and how he is emphasized with a golden halo around his head combined with the light that radiates all around his delicate form indicate that this is Christ and a representation of Christian importance. Although, the contrast of light and dark helps achieve the dramatic visual appeal and add tension, it is muted by the actions of the figures below him. The use of bright color challenges the observer to see his death in a different light, while alluding to the magnificence of Christ individually and as a religious figure. Also, the placement of the figures and how Christ is not only elevated but appears larger due to the darkened background emphasize his importance and give the painting depth. His skin is much brighter than the other figures and you can feel the energy that seems to flow from him, but his drooped head and closed eyes suggest otherwise. Perhaps, this was done to imply the Christian belief that his death was not permanent.
This painting depicts the moment after the crucifixion of Christ when his spirit transcended into heaven. The landscape and background appears dark and desolate, but if you look closely you can see the backs of a few horsemen that imply he was left to die on the cross. Christ is depicted with a white loincloth, the crown of thorns and the seven words of Christ that were his last words on the cross during his crucifixion. The skull and bones, and the lack of blood from his wounds suggest death as well as the bluish tint to his skin. His frame appears too lean and haggard, which emphasizes his torment and suffering. Although, it is clear his death was recent there is also a glow that appears to come from within and works itself outward that suggests religious importance. The reflection of light in the clouds and how they mirror the shape of angels hovering around him all point to the religious reference of his crucifixion. The contrast and use of dark colors give this piece a much more dramatic feel and add tension, so expertly done that almost appears inhuman. This is balanced with realism in his physical appearance and the naturalness in his form as he is stretched out upon the cross. Perhaps, the painting wasn’t intended to focus on the crucifixion or his ascension, but was meant to influence a sort of spiritual connection for the observer as the grace in which he is painted with suggests.
Here, we see a depiction of the crucifixion with Christ whom appears bloodied and battered between the two thieves and were recorded to be crucified at the same time in early Scripture. The cross in the center has a roughness and uneven look to it. He is surrounded by a group of women that include his mother represented in blue and being supported by another woman and St. John behind her. Due to traditional paintings of the scene one could assume that it is Mary Magdalene supporting the Virgin Mary. At the bottom left richly dressed men on horseback turn their backs and gaze away from him as if in scorn in the bottom right corner. Although, it appears unbalanced there seems to be an underlying meaning in the placement of the figures. For instance, the men on the right are of higher stature and those on the left are dressed in a much less elegant fashion. Also, the figures on the left appear to be in mourning while those on the right have no trace of remorse and look onward in ignorance. The lack of motifs or emblem being present amongst these finely dressed men lead me to believe that they are not saints. The flowing loincloth brings the focus back to center as well as how the artist used perspective to make the cross appear taller and larger. The hint of gold on the cross and the crown of thorns suggest religious hierarchy and that he was an important figure. Additionally, his blue skin, the nails in his hands and feet with blood dripping from them, and his drooping head imply his death and torment. The rocky landscape combined with the jagged lines that outline his crown and gashes add a harsh edge to it. This emphasizes his torment and is a reflection of death and his life. Although, he appears battered and broken the inscription behind his head and how he appears to be elongated suggests that he was of significance.
This artist takes a much different approach to his depiction of the crucifixion by adding a mystical flavor to it with the combination of narrative. In this painting Christ hangs in a quiet and graceful manner upon a bright wooden cross. Below him Mary Magdalene represented in the traditional red hugs the cross and gazes up at the angel in a sorrowful expression. The angel below him on the stands in mid strike holding an animal that appears to be a fox. This suggests punishment and alludes to the punishment Christ endured for our sins. But Mary Magdalene’s outstretched form and angle of her toes while hugging of the cross suggest fear and her devotion to Christ. Additionally, the position of her body as she turns towards the angel, and the angel’s head angled towards her imply a connection between punishment and sin. This implies that Mary Magdalene may be seeking forgiveness for her sins while simultaneously showing her devotion and adoration to Christ. There is a figure in the upper left corner haloed in a bright gold that surrounds him with what appears to be an open book on his shoulder. Perhaps, it is intended to symbolize the Holy Scripture and to imply his religious importance in relation to Christ. The actions and gestures of the figures as well as the active participation of the background play an integral role in how this painting is perceived. As your eyes move over each figure and the rolling storm clouds you realize they each have an important part in the balance of good (left) and evil (right). The shields are a sign of protection and appear to force the storm away from harming Christ and taking over the city. This could suggest the protection of God and his mercy. This is emphasized by the fact that Christ is a beacon of light and flowing energy, and shows no sign of torture besides the nails in his hands and feet.
This painting depicts the crucifixion of Christ in a very intricate and ornamental fashion, but holds so much emotion. Christ is the center of the piece with the “INRI” inscription indicating his identity and the two figures on the bottom left are St. John holding up his mother Mary. Mary Magdalene appears on the bottom right corner kneeling with her hands clasped in prayer. The golden haloes that surround their heads symbolize divinity and religious position in Christianity. However, the halo around Christ’s head is much more bolder and implies that he is of higher standing. The expressions of each of the four figures mirror each other and the angles of the drooping head of Christ along with the women’s give the piece balance and pattern. The elegant designs in the women’s clothing allude to their importance and the bluish hues in his mother’s cloak indicate that she is the Virgin Mary. The skull and bone at the bottom represent death, while his gaunt form with blood dripping from his wounds represent torture and suffering. The crown of thorns emphasize he is Christ. His feet nailed at an awkward angle make his torment more prominent, but it is the use of perspective and how the background draws inward that makes the scene much more private and intimate and uncomfortable as you watch them grieve. Yet, the use of soft colors and gentle brushstrokes create a sense of harmony and quiet energy that flows throughout the piece. The positions and similar forms of the figures add unity, which is emphasized by the fluid style of the painting itself.
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