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The Mocking of Christ
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Niklaus Manuel Deutsch
Swiss, Bern, 1513 - 1514
Pen and black ink with white and gold highlights on red-brown prepared paper
21 5/16 x 8 9/16 in.
84.GG.663

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To emphasize the frenzied violence of the mocking of Christ, Niklaus Manuel Deutsch devised a dynamic radial composition with Christ's luminous, haloed head as the focal point of attacks from all sides. He also included a framing line, to which he wittily called attention by extending the soldier's foot outside its bounds at the bottom.

Northern European artists frequently made drawings on colored grounds to be sold to collectors as independent works of art. Manuel Deutsch and such contemporaries as Albrecht Dürer and Albrecht Aldorfer employed the technique of drawing on a deeply colored ground with white strokes delineating contours or modeling figures. Ordinarily, they used a sharp quill pen and a fine pointed brush, which they handled with such control that the thinness of its strokes could rival or outstrip those of the pen.

For this drawing, the artist prepared a red-brown ground, then drew the scene in black ink. Next he brushed in the lavish white heightening, refined additional details in black ink, and touched in Christ's halo with gold pigment.

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