• The Crucifixion

    Artist:
    Jordaens, Jacob. 1593-1678
    Technique:
    black and red chalk, watercolour heightened with white
    Dimensions:
    59x36,8 cm

Jordaens, Jacob. 1593-1678

The Crucifixion

Flanders, 1658

This drawing, which has gone down in scholarly literature under the title Crucifixion, is in reality not so much a representation of the Gospel account of Jesus’ agonizing death as a didactic religious allegory. Jordaens is here illustrating a passage from Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, which is quoted in the artist’s own hand below the composition. The Apostle wrote: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” The artist has consistently translated that text into the language of visual imagery. To the left at the foot of the cross is Moses striking water from the rock – the miracle that the Jews demand. In the foreground are the Greeks who seek wisdom in books. One of them is laughing and pointing to the Crucifixion with a fool’s rattle, because to him Christ’s sacrifice was folly. To the right of the cross are “those who are called”, those who have understood that Christ is the sole source of wisdom. The allegorical female figures among the angels in the clouds personify God’s power and wisdom mentioned in the epistle. The rising sun represents the light of Christian truth pouring over humanity. The artist himself dated this drawing precisely, indicating that he made it on 27 March 1658, while he was in The Hague.

Title:

The Crucifixion

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

black and red chalk, watercolour heightened with white

Dimensions:

59x36,8 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1768; acquired from the K. Cobenzl collection in Brussels

Inventory Number:

ОР-4203

Category:

Collection:

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