The Man of Sorrows

Artist: Michele Giambono (Michele Giovanni Bono) (Italian, active Venice 1420–62)

Date: ca. 1430

Medium: Tempera and gold on wood

Dimensions: Overall, with engaged frame, 21 5/8 x 15 1/4 in. (54.9 x 38.7 cm); painted surface 18 1/2 x 12 1/4 in. (47 x 31.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1906

Accession Number: 06.180


Though abraded, this is a masterpiece by Giambono, the greatest representative of late Gothic painting in Venice. It combines Saint Francis receiving the Stigmata with a figure of Christ as the Man of Sorrows. The reverse is painted to imitate porphyry—a stone with imperial associations. The copious blood issuing from Christ’s wounds as well as from the three nails in the cross is rendered in relief, as is the crown of thorns, thereby emphasizing the physical, tactile quality of these details, which are presented to the viewer for meditation. The pattern on the background is derived from Islamic textiles. The frame is original.