The J. Paul Getty Museum

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem (recto); Christ Bearing the Cross (verso)

Object Details


Christ's Entry into Jerusalem (recto); Christ Bearing the Cross (verso)


James Ensor (Belgian, 1860 - 1949)




Belgium (Place Created)




Graphite and conté crayon on off-white wove paper

Object Number:



22.5 × 16.5 cm (8 7/8 × 6 1/2 in.)


© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM, Brussels

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Object Description

James Ensor made this drawing as a preparatory study for the centerpiece drawing--about ten times larger than this sheet--of a series of five drawings and one painting that he exhibited in 1887 in Brussels with Les XX. He might also have used this drawing as part of a triptych, flanked on each side by Christ Shown to the People and Christ Ascending to Heaven. With these early drawings, Ensor became increasingly preoccupied with portraying Jesus Christ. He began exploring the theme of Christ's entry, which evolved into his enormous painting, Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889.

Ensor used graphite to outline all the elements of this complex composition, emphasizing special areas with Conté crayon. His lively linear technique imbued the whole scene with tumultuous energy. He used a similar technique to establish the main masses, drama, and focus of the scene on the verso, sketching a subject that he may have contemplated including in the series.


Ernest Rousseau, Brussels


Art Market, Ostend


Art Market, Zurich

Rétrospective James Ensor (June 16 to August 15, 1951) (recto)
  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (Antwerp), June 16 to August 15, 1951
James Ensor - Germany (1963) (recto; catalogue by M. de Maeyer)
  • Kunsthalle Basel, June 15 to August 4, 1963
  • Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster (Munster), September to November 1963
Ensor (November 6, 1976 to April 11, 1977) (recto)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, November 6, 1976 to January 3, 1977
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), January 28 to April 11, 1977
Ensor: Dipinti-disegni-incisioni (July to August 1981) (recto; catalogue by M. Calvesi and F.P. Edebau)
  • Palazzo dei Conservatori (Rome), July to August 1981
James Ensor - Israel (September to December 1981) (recto; catalogue by N. Guralnik)
  • Tel Aviv Museum (Tel Aviv), September 22 to November 7, 1981
James Ensor (May 20 to October 30, 1983) (recto; Catalogue by G. Ollinger-Zinque)
  • Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich), May 20 to July 31, 1983
  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (Antwerp), August 20 to October 30, 1983
Gustave Klimt, Egon Schiele, James Ensor, Alfred Kubin: Kunstler der Jahrhundertwende (September to December 1983) (recto; catalogue by B. Catoir, A. Strobl and E. Mitsch)
  • M. Knoedler, Zurich, September 24 to December 3, 1983
Ik James Ensor: Tekeningen en Prenten (1987) (recto; catalogue by R. Hoozee, S. Bown-Taevernier and J. F. Heijbroek)
  • Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Gand), May 8 to June 28, 1987
  • Rijksprentenkabinet (Amsterdam), July 11 to September 27, 1987
Ensor: Autour d'Ensor (April 26 to July 22, 1990) (recto; catalogue entry by G. Ollinger-Zinque)
  • Musée du Petit Palais (Paris), April 26 to July 22, 1990
"Les XX" and the Belgian Avant-Garde (January 24 to September 5, 1993) (recto; Catalogue edited by S.H. Goddard)
  • Spencer Museum of Art (Lawrence), January 24 to March 21, 1993
  • The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamstown), April 17 to June 13, 1993
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), July 13 to September 5, 1993
18th and 19th Century Drawings (March 15 to May 29, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 15 to May 29, 1994
James Ensor (September 24, 1999 to February 13, 2000) (recto; Catalogue by G. Ollinger-Zinque et. al.)
  • Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (Brussels), September 24, 1999 to February 13, 2000
James Ensor Drawings (April 27 to July 21, 2001) (recto; Catalogue edited by C. De Zegher)
  • The Drawing Center (New York), April 27 to July 21, 2001
Ensor's Graphic Modernism (May 2 to July 30, 2006) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 2 to July 30, 2006
Doctrinal Nourishment: Art and Anarchism (April 10 to July 6, 2008) (recto)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), April 10 to July 6, 2008
James Ensor (June 28 to September 21, 2009) (recto)
  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York), June 28 to September 21, 2009
The Scandalous Art of James Ensor (June 10 to September 7, 2014) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 10 to September 7, 2014
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, November 23, 2014 to January 25, 2015