Print: The crowning of thorns from the Hours of Joanna I of Castile (Joanna the Mad)

1 identical illumination

Print: The crowning of thorns from the Hours of Joanna I of Castile (Joanna the Mad) 1 identical illumination


The crowing with thorns is given a particularly dramatic appearance due to the tension between Christ meekly withstanding the scorn and the cruelty of his tormentors. The Lord, seated on a footstool, bare-footed and with his hands tied, gazes sadly at an undefined spot. Upon his shoulders is a purple cloak, and his torso and face are covered in blood because of the whip lashes and the crown rammed onto his head by two soldiers. Another soldier, in profile and bald, mocks Christ by handing him a reed and pretending to genuflect. The soldier opens his mouth and shows his teeth to indicate his cruelty. This gesture also creates a parallel between mankind and certain animals considered to be particularly violent in the late Middle Ages, all in keeping with the exegesis of Psalm 21, which was interpreted as a reference to the tormentors, whose cruelty was compared to that of bulls, lions and dogs. The soldier on the left, next to the remains of the thorns with which the crown was woven, and the soldier to the rear, next to a door leading onto an urban landscape, merely watch, as does Pilate, who, as in the previous case, wears a collar and hat trimmed with mink and carries a long judge’s staff. Pilate, the high priest next to him with his mouth wide open to indicate his wickedness, and the heavily armed soldiers, are in a room separated by a wall and arches adjoining the chamber where Christ is being tortured.


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