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German, North, Christ carrying the Cross

Key facts
Full title Christ carrying the Cross
Artist German, North
Date made about 1490-1510
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 42.9 × 29.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1854
Inventory number NG2160
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Christ carrying the Cross
German, North

Christ carries the Cross on which he will be crucified to Golgotha, the site of his execution (John 19: 17). He is surrounded by soldiers and guards who goad him on his way as he struggles under the weight of the Cross. His body is doubled over and large teardrops fall down his face. The thorns plaited around his head to form a makeshift crown have cut his forehead, which is red with blood. Two of the guards hold him by a rope which is tied around his waist.

The painting may have been part of a series of images showing the Passion of Christ (the name for the events including his arrest, torture and death). It was once thought to have been painted by a Westphalian artist, but is now regarded as reflecting the work of painters in Lübeck in North Germany.

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