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The Flagellation of Christ
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The Flagellation of Christ

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Viewers today are struck by the overtly sexual nature of the work, which is, in part, the result of its intimate scale and monochromatic treatment. The emphatic handling of the contours, the precise modeling that articulates the male anatomy of the executioners, the strict profile and rigid pose of the man just off center contrasted with the limp body of Christ and the arrangement of heavily draped voyeurs hint at something vaguely homoerotic. Many critics of the period noted with some alarm the youth and feminine abandon of the Christ figure. And it is worth mentioning that late 19th-century slang for a young male prostitute was "petit Jesus." The connection between sensuality, sadism, and religious fervor apparent in this drawing is shared with more exotic works, such as Bida's "Ceremony of Dosseh" (WAM 37.901).
Date Description Narrative
Examinationexamined for condition
3/10/1970Loan Considerationexamined for loan
12/05/1991Treatmentmounted; re-housed
1/01/2002Treatmentexamined for exhibition; other
12/15/2004Treatmentrepaired; cleaned; mounted
  • French Masterworks on Paper. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1992.
  • Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century European Drawings. American Federation of Arts, New York. 1965-1966.
  • Muse or Ego: Salon and Independent Artists of the 1880's. Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont. 1963.
  • A Generation of Draughtsmen. The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor. 1962.
  • The Legacy of David and Ingres to Nineteenth-Century Art. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley. 1966.
  • The Academic Tradition. Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington. 1968.
  • Christian Imagery in French Nineteenth Century Art, 1789-1906. The Shepherd Gallery, New York. 1980.
  • A Connoisseur's Portfolio: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors in the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983.
  • The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma. 2005-2006.
Provenance Purchased by William T. Walters (through George A. Lucas as agent), Baltimore, June 11, 1883 [1]; inhertied by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] The Diary of George A. Lucas, p. 566.
Inscriptions [Signed] Lower left in graphite: Wm. Bouguereau
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, 1883

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ca. 1881
charcoal on gray, moderately thick, moderately textured wove paper
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Sheet: H: 17 × W: 11 3/4 in. (43.2 × 29.8 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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