The Piercing of Christ's Side

Object Details


The Piercing of Christ's Side


Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)




Bruges, Belgium (Place created)


about 1525 - 1530


Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment


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

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While a crowd gathers in the lower half of the miniature, the bodies of Christ and the two thieves remain silhouetted against a light blue sky in the upper half of the illumination. By isolating the body of Christ against this blue background, Simon Bening emphasized the long lance piercing his side; a text devoted to the lancing directly follows this illumination. At the bottom left, the Virgin swoons with grief, supported by Saint John and two women. John's hand touches the area of Mary's side that corresponds to the lance wound in Christ's side, drawing attention to the pain she shares with her son.

Related Works
Fashion in the Middle Ages (May 31 to August 14, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 31 to August 14, 2011