Christ Crowned with Thorns Sandro Botticelli Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Christ Crowned with Thorns is also referred sometimes as Christ the Redeemer (Gèsu Redentore) and was completed roughly between 1495 and 1505 by Sandro Botticelli

The original artwork is now owned by the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, Italy and measures 47.6 x 32.3 cm. Botticelli would also create two other similar paintings which are to be found in Detroit, US and Cambridge, UK.

There was, it is believed, a large involvement of the artist's assistants in these three paintings, taking the lead from Sandro's designs and implementing much of it themselves.

This was a common practice during the Renaissance due to the large scale nature of many of their commissions. Giovanni Morelli gifted the original artwork to the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo in 1891, where is has remained ever since.

Morelli himself had purchased the item in 1865, then keeping hold of it for 26 years. Guiseppe Molteni in Milan was involved in the sale, but little is known about its ownership prior to this date. For many years it was joined by an additional artwork to form a two-panel diptych before later being separated from the depiction of Mater Dolorosa, which was to be sold on to a buyer in Russia.

Botticelli makes use of the traditional Renaissance style of depicting Christ, with pale skin and long dashing locks. God himself tends to be portrayed with lighter hair and relatively similar attributes in terms of light skin tone. History teaches us that, in actual fact, they would not have looked like this when considering their geographical background. Perhaps it is sad that even in the modern day, some 500 years later, we still see celebrities in the public eye promoting racial equality whilst lightening their skin tones in edited promotional photography.

The pose here is considered by art historians to be typically Byzantine, with his right hand raised to bless others. Christ's attire is typically smart but without being overly grand, which would have gone against the teachings of the Holy Bible. All artists were challenged to find a balance between betraying Christ as elegant and smart, but still a man of the people who had nor forgotten his roots.