Christ Before Pontius Pilate

We might find the faces in this painting, attributed to a follower of Hieronymus Bosch, to be absurdly comical, but the artist wanted to drive home a point. Against the backdrop of the ugliness of fallen man, Jesus is the only one depicted with a calm, beautiful face in this 1520 painting.

The Scourging of Christ

That calmness continues to be displayed in the face of Christ, even as he is whipped. Titian’s 1560 painting suggests that Jesus looks heavenward for strength in a great time of trial.

Christ Carrying the Cross

The artist known as El Greco, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, a native of Greece, had a long career in Spain. He produced numerous paintings of Christ carrying the cross. This one, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, dates from 1577-87 and might be his earliest version of the subject. Once again, Jesus is depicted in calmness, with a gentle embrace of the cross and a heavenward gaze.

Jesus Falls the First Time

Those who practice the devotion of the Stations of the Cross are very familiar with the three times Jesus fell under the weight of the cross as he climbed the hill where he would be crucified. This painting, executed by Dutch artist Michael Willmann between 1672 and 1678, depicts the first of those falls.

Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross

This image, by an unidentified artist from Quito, Ecuador, is from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú Via the Project for the Engraved Sources of Spanish Colonial Art (PESSCA) at the University of California at Davis.


Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

Though Jesus is still clothed in this painting, the impact of the indignity he is about to undergo is amplified by the great crowd ready to witness his denuding. Mary, turning her eyes away from the spectacle, is comforted by the young Apostle John. The painting was done around 1600 in the workshop of El Greco.

The Crucifixion

This early work by Fra Angelico, painted in the early 1420s, accentuates the drama of the Crucifixion by showing the Virgin collapsed in grief with the lamenting women. The original can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Lamentation

The living blue of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s robe and the vibrant red of the cloak of the bearded man offers a stark contrast for the lifeless body of Jesus, just taken down from the cross. Originally an altarpiece in the church of the Gesù in Rome by Scipione Pulzone, the late 16th-century painting is now held by the Met in New York.

The Entombment

The artist Moretto da Brescia conceived this altarpiece as a meditation on mortality when he painted it in 1554, just before his death. Though Mary and the other attendants are full of grief, as expressed by their faces, they are unaware at this point of the light breaking behind them, a hint of the resurrection to come.