Monday, March 21, 2016

Stations of the Cross: The Tenth Station, Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments *

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).

All the evangelists agree that, after having removed His clothing and crucified Him, the guards played a game of dice to see which of them would get what items.  

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
However, John modifies this somewhat to say that they divided most of the clothing up into four equal parts, and cast lots only for the tunic which was woven in one piece (John 19:23-25).

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
Belgian, 1620
Private Collection
At the right soldiers are pulling off His clothing

Scarsellino, Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
Italian, 1685
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
Italian, 1749
London, British Museum

Later images tend to focus more on the resulting display of naked flesh.
Mattheus Ignaius van Bree
Belgian, 1820
Private Collection

Gustave Moreau, Jesus Stripped of His Garments
French, 1862
Paris, Musee du 

Eric Gill, Jesus Is Stripped of His Clothes
English, 1913-1918
London, Westminster Cathedral

Bernard Naudin, Jesus Stripped of His Garments
French, 1936
 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
Dutch, 1500-1549
Private Collection

Pseudo Jan Wellens de Cock, Calvary
Dutch, c.1520
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum

Circle of Joos van Cleve, Christ on the Cold Stone with Donor
Belgian, 1520-1530
Private Collection

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.  

Jan Gossart, Christ On the Cold Stone
Belgian, 1527
Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts

Jan Gossart, Christ On the Cold Stone
Belgian, c.1530
Valencia, Colegio Real del Corpus Christi

Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem, Christ On the
Cold Stone
Dutch, 1600
Private Collection

Hendrik de Clerck, Christ On the Cold Stone
Belgian, c.1600
Private Collection

Hendrick Goltzius, Christ On the Cold Stone 
with Two Angels
Dutch, 1602
Providence, Rhode Island School of Design Museum

Gaspar de Crayer, Christ On the Cold Stone
With Two Angels
Belgian, 1649-1656
Private Collection

Anonymoua, Christ On the Cold Stone
French, c.1650
Private Collection

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

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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