The Man of Sorrows


Not on view

A monk and a hooded figure, his back bared so that he can whip himself in penitence, kneel before a dreamlike vision of Jesus rising from his tomb. This plaque, with an inscription naming the society of Saint Dominic, was probably intended for private prayer by a member of a Dominican brotherhood.

Focus on the crucified Christ and his suffering was widespread in the 1300s. Pope John XXII (reigned 1316–34) declared that the Imago pietatis should be evoked during the celebration of the Mass. Pope Innocent VI (reigned 1352–62) affirmed that devotion to the Instruments of the Passion would reduce punishment for sin after death; seen here are the vinegar-soaked sponge that was offered to Jesus on the cross and the lance that pierced his side.

The Man of Sorrows, Champlevé enamel, gilded copper, Italian

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