|Jesus Stripped of His Garments|
From Speculum animae (in Catalan)
Spain (Valencia), 1475-1500
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Espagnol 544, 33v
All four Evangelists indicate that, before being nailed to the cross, the garments worn by Jesus were removed. This makes sense. In an era where every item of clothing was handmade, garments were relatively valuable. It didn’t do to waste them, even if worn and bloodstained.
Furthermore, stripping the victim before crucifixion was a further humiliation and, for Jews an especially horrifying one. Public nudity in the gymnasium had been one of the causes of the Maccabee rebellion against the Hellenized Seleucid dynasty about 200 years previously (1 Maccabees: 14-15).
|Guillaume Hugueniot, Jesus Stripped of His Garments|
From Hours of Pierre de Bosredont
French (Langres), c. 1460-1470
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS G55, fol. 128r
Anonymous, Jesus Stripped of His Garments
French (Amiens), 1600-1640
Amiens, Musée de Picardie
In this image Jesus is being stripped at the same time as He is being nailed to the cross.
This part of the Passion narrative has not received much artistic attention. I was able to find only a handful of images showing Jesus being disrobed. The earlier images tend to portray the violence of the encounter of Jesus with the guards who strip him.
Frans Francken II, Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
At the right soldiers are pulling off His clothing
Scarsellino, Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
In this picture one group of soldiers roughly removes Jesus' clothing, while another group digs the hole for the cross.
Giandomenico Tiepolo, Jesus Is Stripped
of His Garments
From Stations of the Cross
London, British Museum
Later images tend to focus more on the resulting display of naked flesh.
Bernard Naudin, Jesus Stripped of His Garments
Paris, Centre national d'art et de culture Georges-Pompidou
In addition, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, artists from the Netherlands (including modern day Belgium) produced a series of unusual images, known in English as “Christ On the Cold Stone”. These devotional images show the disrobed figure of Jesus seated on a stone. The original intent seems to have been to show Jesus midway between the end of his journey to Calvary and his actual nailing to the cross. To this end He is shown seated at Calvary or at least outdoors.
Attributed to Cornelis Engebrechtsz
Christ On the Cold Stone
Pseudo Jan Wellens de Cock, Calvary
However, the similarity of this image to that of the Man of Sorrows 1 quickly overwhelmed the original intent and the background of the image became less and less specific until any suggestion of an outdoor setting is gone.
Hendrick Goltzius, Christ On the Cold Stone
with Two Angels
Providence, Rhode Island School of Design Museum
This image enjoyed some popularity from the beginning of the sixteenth century till about the middle of the seventeenth and disappeared thereafter.
© M. Duffy, 2016
1. The chief difference between the two similar images is that in “Christ On the Cold Stone” Jesus is as yet unmarked. He has not yet been nailed to the cross and therefore his hands, feet and side are whole. The “Man of Sorrows”, on the other hand, shows Jesus with the nail holes and pierced side. For the “Man of Sorrows”, please see http://imaginemdei.blogspot.com/2012/04/meditation-on-passion-man-of-sorrows.html
* For the Ninth Station, see: Stations of the Cross: Jesus Falls, The Third, Seventh and Ninth Stations