Christ Bearing the Cross

North Netherlandish (Bruges) Painer Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 636

Set against the backdrop of a contemporary townscape, this theatrical portrayal of Christ on the road to Calvary recalls the Procession of the Holy Blood, an annual civic celebration in Bruges. This event included a reenactment of the episodes shown in the painting: Christ carrying the cross aided by Simon of Cyrene, Veronica receiving the icon of the Holy Face, and the Virgin and Saint John waiting for Christ. The procession was the responsibility of the Confraternity of the Holy Blood, whose members appear in the painting following the armored horseman carrying the group’s official standard.

Christ Bearing the Cross, North Netherlandish (Bruges) Painer (ca. 1470), Oil on wood

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