Pieter Bruegel the Elder ca. 1520 – 1569

The Procession to Calvary

oil on canvas (124 × 170 cm) — 1564 Museum Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Pieter Bruegel the Elder biography

This work is linked to Mark 15:22

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The procession to Calvary comes to a dead halt when Jesus collapses under the weight of the Cross (see detail). Calvary is a different name for the Golgotha hill. To the right in the foreground a small mournful crowd has gathered around Mary and John the Evangelist.

The composition consisting of several small groups vaguely calls to mind the work of Jan van Eyck. The landscape is more Flemish than Palestinian - if it wasn't for the strange mountain the windmill stands on.

Some think Bruegel may have tried to compare Flanders and Palestine: Flanders was governed by Spain, and Palestine was occupied by the Romans. Both were aspiring for freedom.

In 2011 a motion picture premiered about this painting: The Mill and the Cross.

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