Description The infant Christ, grave and meditative, reaches out to touch the crown of thorns, a painful symbol of his future sacrifice, beside which lie the scourge with which he will be whipped and bent nails drawn from the cross upon which he will be crucified. These objects served traditionally as attributes of the Passion of Christ and would have been easily recognized by viewers in the 1600s. The cloth beneath Christ bridges the two moments in his life as it could be either a traditional wrapping for an infant or the shroud in which his dead body will finally be wrapped. Christ's Passion was understood by the faithful to be implicit in his birth. Representing him as a chubby infant, far too young for the understanding implied here, gives the figure great poignancy. The motif of an infant impossibly young for his actions was developed in Rome in the 1620s by the influential Flemish sculptor François Duquesnoy. This sensitive example is by him or a close follower. It may have been made as a model for a version in marble or bronze; however, it was once gilded and was displayed as a finished work of art.
- Salute to Belgium. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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