Jesus on the cross

The crucifixion of Jesus was a central event in the gospels. Some painters glossed over the horrifying details, presenting a glorified Christ; others showed the agony of crucifixion. They showed Jesus alone in his final moments or surrounded by anguished disciples. See Hidden Meanings for more on the way that artists depicted crucifixion.

Crucifixion, Matthias Grunewald

Crucifixion, Matthias Grunewald

Crucifixion, Nicolai Ge

Crucifixion, Nicolai Ge

Preparatory sketch for Christ in 'Calvary'

Preparatory sketch for Christ in ‘Calvary’

Crucifixion, Giotto

Crucifixion, Giotto

Crucifixion, Francis Bacon, 1933

Crucifixion, Francis Bacon, 1933

Study for a figure at the base of a Crucifixion, Francis Bacon

Study for a figure at the base of a Crucifixion, Francis Bacon

The figure at the foot of the cross is horrific: half-human, half-beast. Its screaming mouth protests against man’s inhumanity to man. Some critics say that Bacon’s inspiration for this image came from the wounded nurse in Eisenstein’s 1925 film Battleship Potemkin – see the movie clip of this scene. The gaping mouth breathing black air may also reflect Bacon’s severe asthma,
which eventually killed him in 1992.

Crucifixion, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Altarpiece of the Sacraments

Crucifixion, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Altarpiece of the Sacraments

Christ of St John of the Cross, Salvador Dali

Christ of St John of the Cross, Salvador Dali

Find Out More

Jesus Christ
Modern images of Jesus and Mary
Birth of Jesus