Francisco de Zurbarán 1598 – 1664

Christ on the Cross

oil on canvas (290 × 165 cm) — 1627 Museum Art Institute, Chicago

This work is linked to Luke 23:33

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An impressive canvas by the Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán: impressive in size and in expressiveness. He signed it on the sheet of paper on the lower part of the cross.

Zurbarán made the painting for the sacristy of a Dominican monastery in Seville. He choose to show Christ with four iron nails, on a cross made of rough wood, without bystanders and without signs of suffering. The choice was the outcome of an intense debate among theologists and artists about the best way to display Jesus' agony.

It was one of Zurbarán's first works and immediately became a success. It resulted in many commissions for copies, that sometimes were made by assistants in the master's workshop.

His colleague Velázquez made a similar painting in 1632.

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