Skip to main content
Christ as 'The Light of the World'
Paris Bordone
/

Christ’s hand is raised with his index finger pointing upwards, perhaps towards heaven, represented by the sunlit sky through the window. He holds a scroll inscribed: EGO. SVM. LVX. MŪD. meaning ‘I am the Light of the World’ (John 8: 12). Christ goes on to promise that ‘he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,’ underlining his role as saviour.

Paintings of this type were kept in houses, especially in bedrooms and also displayed in churches. The painting is signed on the plinth of the pillar.

The hatching of the shadows in Christ’s eyes and the thin horizontal lines of white crossing his irises are typical of Bordone’s style and can also be seen in his Portrait of a Young Woman. The red of Christ’s garment has faded, making the highlights and shadows appear rather hard and abrupt.

Key facts
Artist Paris Bordone
Artist dates 1500 - 1571
Full title Christ as 'The Light of the World'
Date made about 1550
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 90.7 x 74.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Mrs Mary M. Wood through her brother, the Revd G. Greenwood, 1901
Inventory number NG1845
Location in Gallery Room 9
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo