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The Crowning with Thorns
Bassano, Leandro
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Bassano, Leandro

Bassano del Grappa, Veneto (Italy), 1557 - Venice (Italy), 1622

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The Crowning with Thorns

1590 - 1598. Oil on slate.
Room 043

The composition is derived from a Cristo incoronato di Spine done by Jacopo Bassano towards 1589-1590 (Rome, private collection), in which Ballarin clearly sees the influence of Titian´s Christ Crowned with Thorns (Munich, Alte Pinakothek, inv. 2272). The Galleria Sabauda in Turin houses a bottega replica which, like the Prado version, is painted on slate.

Several aspects of the painting justify its inclusion among the imágenes de devoción Philip II possessed in the private oratory at the Alcazar in Madrid: the subject matter, which invites the believer to meditate on the Passion of Christ; its small size and the dramatic effect the painter achieved by using the colour of the slate as a setting for the scene, which is illuminated only by a torch and a brazier; and the presence of a prominent tear on Christ´s cheek. The inventory mentioned two more paintings on slate of similar characteristics which the Madrid-based Milanese sculptor Pompeo Leoni had presented to the king as gifts: Christ on the Way to Calvary and an Expulsion of the Merchants from the Temple. Given their similarities (same size and support and ebony frames), it seems logical to assume that they came from the same source. Each of the three was covered with a taffeta curtain, which enabled the sovereign to unveil only the image he wished to pray before on each occasion. Lastly, the inventory notes that, even in Philip II´s day, the Christ Crowned was hendida y pegada (these qualities are visible to this day), which was why it was valued at only 50 ducats compared to the too ducats of its companions.

Another Bassanesque painting on slate depicting Christ crowned with thorns, of the same size (54 x 49 cm) but poorer quality, is housed at the Escorial and is probably the one Padre de los Santos refers to as hanging in the sacristy of the Pantheon in 1657. The composition is similar and the architectural elements that frame the scene are based on the same model. The existence of two versions of the same theme with exactly the same format and support is a perfect example of the industrialisation of the Bassano workshop (Text drawn from Falomir, M.: Los Bassano en la España del Siglo de Oro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2001, p. 233).

Technical data

Inventory number
Bassano, Leandro
The Crowning with Thorns
1590 - 1598
Height: 54 cm; Width: 49 cm
Royal Collection (Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, primera pieza-antetribuna, 1772, nº 913; Buen Retiro, 1794, nº 88; Palacio Real, Madrid, guardarropa de Carlos III, 1814-1818, nº 88).

Bibliography +

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. 552.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 31.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: pintura italiana anterior a 1600, Gredos, Madrid, 1979, pp. 226.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 34.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pintura veneciana en España (siglos XVI y XVII), Nerea, Madrid, 1994, pp. 303, n. 149.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Un príncipe del Renacimiento: Felipe II, un monarca y su época, Sociedad Estatal para la Commemoración de los centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V, Madrid, 1998, pp. 506.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Los Bassano en la España del Siglo de Oro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Salamanca, 2001, pp. 112.

Ruíz Manero, J. M., Los Bassano en España, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2011, pp. 181-183 n.4L, il XXXIII.

Checa, Fernando, 'Cose piccole di pittura' Las miniaturas del Passionarium de Felipe II y el scriptorium escurialense., Reales Sitios, Año L. cuarto trimestre, 2013, pp. 4-39 [29-30 fg.11].

Maurer, G., Goya: lo bello y lo recóndito. En: La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 132.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, folleto, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 16 n.47.

Mason, S., Pittura 'poco meno che eterna' o 'finta di notte'. Dipinti su pietra tra Roma e Venezia, ArtItalies, n.23, 2017, pp. 109-118 [112].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 717.
Bassano (Leandro) / 717. Jesús coronado de espinas. / Está sentado, cubierto con un paño encarnado, y con la caña en las manos, recibiendo escarnios é insultos de muchos judios. Uno de ellos agachado en primer termino, tiene en la mano una copa con lumbre; otro que se ve en el fondo tiene una antorcha encendida; y del medio del cuadro pende una lampara. Efecto de luz artificial. (pizarra) / Alto 1 pie, 11 pulg; ancho 1 pie, 9 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 41.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 47.

Inv. Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1772. Núm. 913.
Primera Pieza / Antetribuna / [14338] 913 / Vna pintura Cristo pasivo quando en la noche antecedente al Viernes le mofan los judios dos tercias de alto media vara de ancho original de Basan sobre pizarra

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 88.
Otra [pintura] de Basán, en pizarra. La Coronacion de Espinas, de dos tercias de alto, y media vara de ancho con marco dorado...900

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 88.
Guarda ropa de Carlos III [...] {22009} 88 / Pizarra dos tercias de alto la Coronación de espinas = Basan

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in white. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

In Lapide Depictum
17.04.2018 - 05.08.2018

Captive Beauty. Fra Angelico to Fortuny
21.05.2013 - 10.11.2013

Location +

Room 043 (On Display)

Update date: 03-11-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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