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Desecration of the Crucifix or Christ of the Insults
Camilo, Francisco
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Camilo, Francisco

Madrid (Spain), 1615 - Madrid (Spain), 1673

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Desecration of the Crucifix or Christ of the Insults

XVII century. Oil on canvas. On display elsewhere

This is a very significant example of Camilo´s skill at representing uncommon narrative events. It presents one of the episodes in the story of desecration and offense to a crucifix by a family of Portuguese Jews in Madrid in 1630. The episode was exploited by a political faction opposed to the Count Duke, whom they accused of tolerance toward the Jews. It stirred feelings in Madrid and led to the founding of the Capuchin Convent of La Paciencia de Cristo, whose church was completed in 1651 with a main altarpiece on The Stripping of Christ (Christ of Patience) painted by Rizi (P2925).

A variety of artists active in Madrid at that time participated in the creation of four canvases narrating the story of the desecration of the crucifix for that convent. According to various reports by Palomino and a description by Ponz, the other artists involved in that project at the chapel were Francisco Fernández, Andrés de Vargas and Félix Castello, who painted two canvases. The Museo de la Trinidad had one work each on this subject by Fernández and Vargas, but no related works under Castello´s name. Two, however, are signed by Camilo and it would appear that Palomino accidentally confused Camilo and Castello in his report.

This canvas by Camilo shows the moment when the crucifix is taken down from the chimney where it had been hidden in order to whip it. Friar Mateo Anguiano´s book, La nueva Jerusalen en que la perfidia hebraica reiteró con nuevos ultrajes la Passion de Christo, Salvador del Mundo, en su sacrosanta imagen del Crucifixo de la Paciencia (Madrid, 1709), quotes the text from the cartouches that appear on the four canvases, and the one on this painting reads: They had the Holy Crucifix hanging upside down in the chimney flue, from which they removed it to whip it with different cords and switches.

The different figures prepare whips and switches and the entire canvas presents a singular scene of movement and action in a domestic setting with clothing of that time. Angulo (1959) observed that in this canvas, Camilo appears less distant from Velázquez´s art than was common among other painters from Madrid at that time, undoubtedly underlining this canvas´s clearly suggested space and atmosphere.

When he published this work in 1900, Víctor Balaguer misinterpreted the scene, believing that it showed the inquisitors surprising the Jews in the act of desecrating the crucifixion, that the kneeling man was attempting to save it from the fire, and that the one preparing the switches in the foreground was attempting to pull them out of the kneeling woman´s hands.

Technical data

Inventory number
Camilo, Francisco
Desecration of the Crucifix or Christ of the Insults
XVII century
Height: 210 cm.; Width: 231 cm.
Capilla del Cristo de la Paciencia. Convento de los Capuchinos, Madrid.
Madrid, Royal Convent of La Paciencia de Cristo, of the lesser Capuchin Franciscan Brothers, Chapel of El Cristo de la Paciencia; Museo de la Trinidad

Bibliography +

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865, pp. 40.

Balaguer, V, Boletín del Museo Balaguer, enero, 1900.

Lozoya, Juan de Contreras y López de Ayala, Marqués de, Historia del arte hispánico, IV, Salvat, Barcelona, 1945, pp. 123.

Milicúa, José, El Cristo de los agravios, MEMORIAS DE LOS MUSEOS ARQUEOLOGICOS PROVINCIALES: (EXTRACTOS), 1948-1949, pp. 205-207.

Angulo, Diego, Francisco Camilo, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 1959, pp. 96.

Carreño, Rizi, Herrera y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Ministerio de Cultura: Banco Herrero, Madrid, 1986, pp. 292-293.

Orihuela, Mercedes, Noticias del Prado. Nuevos depósitos, Boletín del Museo del Prado, VIII (24), 1987, pp. 206.

Orihuela, Mercedes, El ''Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en Gerona, LLagostera, Olot, Figueras, Lérida, Poblet, Mataró, Sitges, Sabadell y Villanueva y Geltrú, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XII (30), 1991, pp. 140.

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

Scholz-Hänsel, Michael, 'Das bildprogramm im Convento de los Capuchinos de la Paciencia de Cristo (um 1650) in Madrid im context von 'Konfessionalisierung' und 'disziplinierung' En: Kirchliche Kultur und Kunst des 17. Jahrhunderts in Spanien.., Vervuert ; Iberoamericana, 2004, pp. 279-295 [284].

La presencia del Prado: episodios de una historia, Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer Ediciones Lectio., 2020, pp. 130.

Other inventories +

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 909.
909. / Una familia de ereges, maltratando un crusifijo y poniendole al fuego de una chimenea varias fig.s de hombre y muger con manojos de zarzas para azotarle fig.s menor q.e el natural y cuerpo entº / Camilo / alto 2,07 ancho 2,30 p.r la luz del marco / con moldura pintada y con filetes dorados y en / Nº 1 / E.P.

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 909.
ESCUELA MADRILEÑA. [...] FRANCISCO CAMILO. [...] 909. Judíos quemando un Crucifijo. / Lienzo. - Al. 2,10. - An. 2,30 - Fig. mnr. n. / Firmado, Francisco Camilo. / Una familia de judíos quemando un Crucifijo; en primer término hombres y mujeres haciendo disciplinas de espino para azotar la santa imagen. Este cuadro, con otro pintado por Andrés de Vargas, grande amigo de Camilo, y otro hecho por Francisco Fernandez, estuvieron en el convento de Capuchinos de la Paciencia de Madrid.



There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Villanueva Y Geltrú - Biblioteca Museo Víctor Balaguer (Deposit)

Displayed objects +


Update date: 12-12-2020 | Registry created on 27-09-2016

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