Christ Crowned with Thorns

Artist: Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni d'Antonio) (Italian, Messina ca. 1430–1479 Messina)

Medium: Oil, perhaps over tempera, on wood

Dimensions: 16 3/4 x 12 in. (42.5 x 30.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931

Accession Number: 32.100.82


An artist of astonishing originality, Antonello combined a Netherlandish mastery of description with an Italian emphasis on formal presentation and expression. This painting may date as early as 1470. To increase its function as an aide to meditation, Christ is shown behind a parapet—a convention Antonello appropriated from portraiture. The device enhances the effect of Christ’s physical presence and suffering: "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).