Raising the Cross on Golgotha

by Isabella Childs January 05, 2021

execution of Our Lord

    This is a painting of soldiers raising the crucified Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary, by leading Flemish Baroque artist, Anthony Van Dyck .

    The Savior has been nailed to the cross. He has white skin, shoulder-length dark brown hair, and a beard. He wears a white cloth around His waist and a crown of thorns. Some golden rays are emitted from His head. A piece of paper with the letters “I”, “N”, “R”, “I”, is nailed to the cross, above Christ’s head. The Savior looks upwards and to His right.

    Four soldiers move Christ’s cross so that it will fit in the hole dug for it in the ground. One soldier holds the bottom of the cross, on the left side. This soldier stands at an angle, with his right arm wrapped around the cross and his left arm laid lengthwise on the left side of the cross. He looks down at the hole in which the cross will stand. This soldier holding the bottom of the cross has white hair and a thin beard. He wears a short, dark green tunic and a red cap. The three other soldiers raise the cross by holding the right side of the cross. The soldier in the foreground of the painting faces the cross, with both of his arms wrapped around the lower right side of the cross. This soldier is a young man, with shoulder-length brown hair and tan skin. He wears only a white cloth around his waist. To the young soldier’s right is an older soldier who holds the middle part of the cross while looking up at Christ. This soldier has shoulder-length, white hair and a beard. He wears a red shirt over a white robe. A rope is tied around his waist. The soldier furthest to the right places his left hand on the left side of Christ’s chest and his right hand behind the Savior's back. Only part of this soldier’s head is visible. This soldier is a young man with black hair. He wears a gold robe.

    A small white and black dog stands behind the soldiers in the right corner of the painting, looking back towards Christ. Also behind the soldiers is a basket of tools.

    There are three soldiers looking on while the other soldiers raise the cross. One of the soldiers, who wears a brown tunic, stands near the cross on the left side, and looks up at Jesus with an ugly smile on his face. This soldier has his right hand laid atop of a shovel which he holds in the ground where the cross is to be. He raises his left arm to his left side. The second soldier is dressed in armor and sits on a white horse in the background of the scene. This soldier looks towards Christ, gesturing to the Savior with his right hand. Just visible behind the mounted soldier is the face of the third soldier and the large orange flag which he carries.

    The background of the painting consists of a cloudy sky. The clouds are gray and white. There are some streaks of orange and blue in the sky.

    Download this high-resolution image here.

Isabella Childs
Isabella Childs


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