El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, 1541–1614)
Oil on canvas
41 3/8 x 31 in. (105 x 79 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.145)
During his long career in Spain, El Greco produced numerous paintings of Christ Carrying the Cross. The Lehman canvas, arguably his earliest version of the subject, is not a narrative scene: no other figures are represented and the setting is not recognizable. Instead, it is a devotional image of haunting immediacy, resonant with pathos. Christ's willing sacrifice for humankind is expressed through his gentle embrace of the cross and his heavenward gaze.