Oil on canvas
Framed: 201 x 256 x 10 cm (79 1/8 x 100 13/16 x 3 15/16 in.); Unframed: 165 x 218.2 cm (64 15/16 x 85 7/8 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1960.117
Zurbarán, also a still-life painter, tilts the tabletop to emphasize the symbolic books and fruit.
Stories of Christ’s childhood and adolescence became increasingly popular during the Counter-Reformation because they were easily understood by a broad public. Rather than taking a story from the Bible, Zurbarán appears to have invented this subject, in which Jesus pricks himself on a crown of thorns he is weaving, foretelling his later torment at the Crucifixion. Despite the grand scale and monumental figures, the work has remarkable intimacy and quietness, emphasizing such details as the Virgin’s tears.
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