Artist: Romare Bearden (American, Charlotte, North Carolina 1911–1988 New York)

Date: 1945

Medium: Watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper

Dimensions: 19 7/8 x 25 1/2 in. (50.5 x 64.8 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Bequest of Margaret Seligman Lewisohn, in memory of her husband Sam A. Lewisohn, 1954

Accession Number: 54.143.9

Rights and Reproduction: Art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY


In 1945 Golgotha was exhibited as part of the series of eleven watercolors titled The Passion of Christ in Bearden's first major New York gallery show. His knowledge of Cubism is apparent in the flattened space and angular forms, and the areas of bright color framed by black outlines reveal his admiration for the stained-glass windows of medieval churches. Golgotha was also directly influenced by Duccio's fourteenth-century Maestà altarpiece in the Siena cathedral. Bearden borrowed Duccio's overall composition of the Crucifixion scene as well as the poses and gestures of the figures that watch from the base of the cross.