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Giampietrino, Christ carrying his Cross

Key facts
Full title Christ carrying his Cross
Artist Giampietrino
Artist dates active about 1500 - 1550
Date made probably about 1510-30
Medium and support Oil on poplar
Dimensions 59.7 × 47 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3097
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Christ carrying his Cross

Christ turns to look at us as he carries the Cross on which he will be crucified. This type of painting, in which the viewer is put in the position of the holy women on whom Christ looked on the route to Calvary, was especially popular in North Italy in the sixteenth century. Christ’s eyes appeal to us in his pain to stir our emotions and arouse our compassion.

Giampietrino’s composition is based on a silver-point study of the same subject by Leonardo, which was also used by a range of artists working in Lombardy at the time.

The National Gallery’s panel is one of several more or less identical versions of the same picture by Giampietrino, which suggests that he kept reusing the same cartoon (full-scale drawing). Charcoal was rubbed through holes in the pricked cartoon to trace the outlines on the panel for painting.

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