Artist: El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, Iráklion (Candia) 1540/41–1614 Toledo)
Date: ca. 1577–87
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 41 5/16 x 31 1/8 in. (105 x 79 cm)
Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number: 1975.1.145
During his long career in Spain, El Greco produced numerous paintings of Christ carrying the cross. The Lehman canvas, arguably his earliest version of the subject, is not a narrative scene: no other figures are represented and the setting is not recognizable. Instead, it is a devotional image of haunting immediacy and resonant with pathos. Christ's willing sacrifice for mankind is expressed through his gentle embrace of the cross and his heavenward gaze.