Painting of the Week: Christ on the Cross

Rembrandt’s painting of the Crucifixion emphasizes the divine drama in this pivotal moment of our Faith.

In Rembrandt’s representation, Christ’s body is stretched out on the cross. The background appears empty, underscoring his abandonment by the disciples and his being forsaken by the Father. The sign above his head reads, “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), which Roman soldiers intended to humiliate him.

So Jesus dies alone in disgrace. Rembrandt captures the scene with honesty, reverence, and awe.

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At noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until three o’clock. Then about that time Jesus shouted, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” — Matthew 27:45–46

Artist: Rembrandt

Year: Between 1631

Location: Église Saint-Vincent in Le Mas-d’Agenais, Lot-et-Garonne, France


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