Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 104



Christiansen reappraised this work, dating it to the artist’s English
the figure on the right of the Melbourne canvas bears clear
sojourn, from 1626 until his death. To these three extant works,
similarities to the figure placing the Crown of Thorns in the newly
it is possible to add another that Gentileschi probably executed in
discovered painting: both exhibit similar volume in the hair and
Genoa. Although now untraced, it is documented in a drawing by
sharp outlines on a protruding chin. In addition, the partial view
Anthony van Dyck in his famous Italian sketchbook.
of the villain on the left of the Melbourne painting displays several
2
similarities (including the identical green of his clothing) with the
All of these images display compelling stylistic and iconographical
torturer in the same position in the present canvas.
similarities with the present canvas. The greatest correspondence
probably occurs with the canvas now in Melbourne, which includes
Even in its flaws, it is clear that the new canvas belongs to
the captor’s gesture of a pointing finger (either a sign of warning
Gentileschi: the foreshortening of the arm of the captor wearing
or mocking). The depiction of the torturer’s clothing and the
the blue gilet is notable for the awkward angle of the elbow, which
colouring in the two canvases is also comparable. Furthermore,
recalls the complicated placement and stiffness in the arms of
Fig. 12.2 Orazio Gentileschi, The Mocking of Christ, 1628-1635, oil on canvas,
124.5 x 159.5 cm, Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria.
other figures by Gentileschi – for instance the impossible curve of
the arm of the captor on the left in the Brunswick Mocking of Christ
and the even stiffer positioning of the arm placing the Crown of
Fig. 12.3 Orazio Gentileschi, The Vision of Saints Cecilia, Tibertius, and Valerian,
ca. 1607, oil on canvas, 350 x 218 cm, Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera.
Thorns in the fresco in Fabriano.
Certain details reveal Gentileschi at his most sophisticated and
Gentileschi regularly returned to his compositions, or areas of his
elegant, such as the magnificent clothing of the kneeling villain,
compositions, which he reworked or from which he continuously
the drapery of Christ’s red mantle, and the soft texture of the jacket
drew inspiration, often after a lengthy period of time had elapsed.
of the torturer on the left; not to mention the palpable consistency
However, on the basis of the still-naturalistic rendering of detail
of the Redeemer’s bare skin or the delicate chiaroscuro shading
in this image, a relatively early date, in the first years of the second
on the grey stone of the column.
decade of the century, seems feasible.
The perspective is also typical of Gentileschi, who frequently
G ianni P api
favoured a point of view taken from slightly above and to the
right, also used in the altarpiece in the Brera depicting the Vision
of Saints Cecilia, Tiburtius and Valerian (fig. 12.3), as well as the
similar Crowning with Thorns in Brunswick, the David in Dublin,
and the Holy Family on copper now in a private collection.
The dating of this new addition to Gentileschi’s catalogue is
difficult. The similarities with the Mocking of Christ painted in
Fig. 12.1 Orazio Gentileschi, Christ Crowned with Thorns, oil on canvas, 119.5 x 148.5 cm, Brunswick, Herzon Anton Ulrich Museum.
104
England do not provide sufficient evidence to date the canvas.
1.
2.
Erich Schleier, “Orazio Gentileschis ‘Verspottung Christi’,” Pantheon 51 (1993):
pp. 196-200.
Gabriele Finaldi, “Orazio Gentileschi at the Court of Charles I,” in Orazio
Gentileschi at the Court of Charles I, ed. Gabriele Finaldi, exh. cat. (London, Bilbao, and
Madrid: National Gallery, Museo de Bellas Artes, and Museo del Prado, 1999), pp.
64-65; Keith Christiansen, in Orazio e Artemisia Gentileschi, eds. Keith Christiansen
and Judith W. Mann (Rome, New York, Saint Louis: Palazzo Venezia, The
Meropolitan Museum, and the Saint Louis Museum of Art, 2001), pp. 241-244.
105

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