Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 103

Pisa, 1593 – London, 1639
Crowning with Thorns
Oil on canvas
41 x 52 cm
The subject matter of the Crowning with Thorns is often confused
Private Collection
with that of the Mocking of Christ, as the former also depicts
the derisive attitudes of Christ’s tormentors. The most common
iconography of this image shows the placing of the Crown of Thorns
on the head of the Redeemer and includes a kneeling figure in the
foreground, who pulls Christ’s hair and points at him mockingly,
an action that also appears in depictions of the Mocking of Christ.
The stylistic idiom of this recently emerged painting reveals Orazio
Gentileschi as its author, and the work constitutes an important and
valuable discovery. Although not recorded in sources or documents,
analysis of the painting’s iconography and technique leaves little
doubt about its belonging to Gentileschi’s catalogue.
Three paintings by Gentileschi treating the iconographically
similar subjects of the Mocking of Christ and the Crowning
with Thorns are extant and provide useful comparisons with the
present work. The first, on canvas, was probably commissioned
by the Savelli family (perhaps ca. 1613) and is today conserved
at the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Brunswick (fig. 12.1). A
second treatment of the scene occurs in a fresco included in the
decoration of the chapel of the Crucifixion in San Venanzio in
the Fabriano Cathedral (1615-1616?). A third version, ascribed
by Eric Schleier to the painter’s Genoese period, is also on
canvas and today conserved in the National Gallery of Victoria,
Melbourne (fig. 12.2);1 subsequently Gabriele Finaldi and Keith


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