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Christ, Man of Sorrows
Pereda y Salgado, Antonio de
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Pereda y Salgado, Antonio de

Valladolid (Spain), 1611 - Madrid (Spain), 1678

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Christ, Man of Sorrows

1641. Oil on canvas Room 017A

In this image of Christ embracing the Cross, all of the elements converge to communicate suffering, sacrifice and resignation. In contrast to much visual iconography of the Passion, the Cross is represented as a tree trunk still bearing much of its bark. In the upper portion, the bark has been removed by the strokes of an axe, the traces of which are minutely reproduced. Through the contrast between the carefully depicted skin of the log and the aggressions it has been subjected to, Antonio Pereda produces a metaphorical parallel with the wounded flesh of Christ. One area of the trunk even seems to anticipate the wounds from the nails and the lance of the Crucifixion. The thick rope around Christ´s neck extends to His left arm and wraps around the Cross. It is depicted with similar detail to the tree bark, and we shudder in the contemplation of its coarse, bloodied braids wounding Christ´s flesh. The play of rough surfaces is completed in the upper portion of the painting, where our gaze pauses on the crown of thorns injuring His head. Many crowns of thorns have been portrayed throughout the history of Spanish painting, but few are as densely constructed or transmit so naturalistically their ability to cause pain. The work of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1578) has been suggested as a possible source of inspiration, although it is important also to recall the crowns of thorns that appear in Spanish polychrome sculptures. The painting´s great efficacy as a devotional object resides not only in these elements that directly evoke, in their crude materiality, the idea of martyrdom. It is also owing to the artist´s deployment of sharp contrasts, for instance those between the rough, wounding surfaces of trunk and rope and the body of Christ, modelled with an extraordinary softness that recalls the paintings of Titian, which enjoyed great acclaim in Spain. Against the descriptive precision of the tree bark, Pereda has executed Christ´s breast and right arm with freer brushstrokes that avoid excessive definition of outlines. These contrasts culminate in His head, where the implacably brutal presence of the crown of thorns accentuates the expression of suffering and resignation on Christ´s face as He lifts His tear-filled eyes toward the Father in search of solace. In terms of light and colour, the painting is ingeniously composed. By projecting the figure of Christ against a dark background and situating Him in the close foreground, Pereda has eliminated any other elements that might distract the viewer, obliging us to read the composition closely and creating a highly illusionistic effect, to which the careful depiction of forms and textures also contributes. In this sense, it can be viewed as a painting that seeks to compete with sculpture. Pereda has utilised the contrast between the light tones of Christ´s body and of the upper portion of the Cross and the dark colours of the rest of the painting in order to direct our gaze. He has also used the red of the robe in a similarly compelling fashion, evoking with its colour the theme of martyrdom and determining our entire reading of the composition´s colour scheme. The closest precedent for this depiction is not a painting but a sculpture -namely, Domingo de la Rioja´s Victorious Christ 1635. Originally commissioned for the Santuario de Serradilla, a church hospital in Spain´s Extremadura region, Rioja´s sculpture achieved notable fame in the court. So great was its renown, in fact, that it was on display in Madrid until 1637 according to the wishes of Philip IV, and several copies of it were made. One of these is currently in the Capilla de la Venerable Orden Tercera (Chapel of the Venerable Third Order) in Madrid. As in Pereda´s painting, this sculpted Christ is wearing a crown of thorns and holds an unhewn cross, communicating with great directness all the suffering and heroism of His sacrifice. The popularity of Pereda´s image is demonstrated by the existence of at least two similar versions (Portús, J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 122).

Technical data

Inventory number
P001047
Author
Pereda y Salgado, Antonio de
Title
Christ, Man of Sorrows
Date
1641
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 97 cm.; Width: 78 cm.
Provenance
Trinidad Museum

Bibliography +

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865, pp. 71.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías1869-1957, Un gran pintor valisoletano: Antonio de Pereda : la vida del, Tipografía del Colegio Santiago, 1916, pp. 50.

Lozoya, Juan de Contreras y López de Ayala, Marqués de, Historia del arte hispánico, IV, Salvat, Barcelona, 1945, pp. 119.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Treasures of Spanish Art / Tesoros del Arte Español, Ministerio de Información y Turismo, Madrid, 1968.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

D. Antonio de Pereda (1611-1678) y la pintura madrileña de s, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General del Patri, Madrid, 1978, pp. nº 10.

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Historia de la pintura española: escuela madrileña del segundo tercio del siglo XVII, Instituto Diego Velázquez, Madrid, 1983, pp. 191/lám. 171.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, II. Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona, 1994, pp. 128.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 224.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel, Antonio de Pereda 'Christ as the Man of sorrows' En:, Sacred Spain. Art and belief in the Spanish world, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2009, pp. 240-241.

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 122-123 nº 22.

Other inventories +

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 584.
584. / Jesucristo abrazado al tronco de la Cruz y una soga al cuello figª de medio cuerpo y tamº nat.l / Autor Pereda / Rectifdo Alto 0,97 ancho 0,78 / Fdo Rdo y sin marco y Colgdo en Id.id.id. / nº 28 / s.s.

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 584.
ESCUELA MADRILEÑA. [...] JUAN DE PAREJA. [...] 584. Jesus con la cruz a cuestas. / Lienzo. - Al. 0,97. - An. 0,78. - Fig. t. n. m. c. / Firmado, Antonio Pereda, 1641. / Nuestro Señor Jesucristo coronado de espinas, con manto rojo alrededor del cuerpo y una soga al cuello, sostiene el santo madero (1) // (1) Grabado al agua fuerte por el Sr. Galvan y publicado en El Arte en España.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2177c.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 2174.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1047.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1047.

Exhibitions +

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Sacred Spain - España Sagrada: Arte y Creencia en el Mundo Hispano
Indianapolis IN
11.10.2009 - 03.01.2010

Location +

Room 017A (On Display)

Expuesto

Displayed objects +

Objects from Christ's Passion

Update date: 16-10-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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