The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Crowning with Thorns

Object Details


The Crowning with Thorns


Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)




Bruges, Belgium (Place Created)


about 1525–1530


Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig IX 19 (83.ML.115), fol. 160v


Leaf: 16.8 × 11.4 cm (6 5/8 × 4 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Simon Bening placed Christ in the center of this miniature in a pose that reveals dignity and grace in the face of his attackers. Despite the grievous wounds he has sustained, Christ retains a solemn beauty while his tormenters appear ugly, foolish, and evil. In juxtaposing the distorted features of the henchmen with Christ's comely figure, Bening followed a common medieval artistic tradition meant to evoke a sympathetic response from the beholder. He also drew the viewer into the scene by placing Pilate and his retinue outside the windows of the torture chamber. In a sense, the officials mirror the position of the person looking at the picture.